Purification and characterization of bioactive his6-tagged recombinant human tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) protein expressed at high yields in mammalian cells.

Research paper by Lena L Vinther, Ulrik U Lademann, Elisabeth Veyhe EV Andersen, Peter P Højrup, Morten M Thaysen-Andersen, Berit Olsen BO Krogh, Birgitte B Viuff, Nils N Brünner, Jan J Stenvang, José M A JM Moreira

Indexed on: 08 Jul '14Published on: 08 Jul '14Published in: Protein Expression and Purification


Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) is an endogenous inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) with reported tumor promoting, as well as inhibitory, effects. These paradoxical properties are presumably mediated by different biological functions, MMP-dependent as well as -independent, and probably related to TIMP-1 levels of protein expression, post-translational modifications, and cellular localization. TIMP-1 is an N-glycosylated protein that folds into two functional domains, a C- and an N-terminal domain, with six disulfide bonds. Furthermore, TIMP-1 is processed in the N-terminal sequence. These three biochemical properties make TIMP-1 difficult to produce in conventional bacterial, insect, or yeast expression systems. We describe here a HEK293 cell-based strategy for production and purification of secreted and N-glycosylated recombinant his6-tagged human TIMP-1 (his6-rTIMP-1), which resulted in large amounts of highly purified and bioactive protein. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry confirmed the N- and C-termini of his6-rTIMP-1, and N-glycosylation profiling showed a match to the N-glycosylation of human plasma TIMP-1. The his6-rTIMP-1 was bioactive as shown by its proper inhibitory effect on MMP-2 activity, and its stimulatory effect on cell growth when added to the growth medium of four different breast cancer cell lines. This study provides an easy set-up for large scale production and purification of bioactive, tagged recombinant human TIMP-1, which structurally and functionally is similar to endogenous human TIMP-1, while using an expression system that is adaptable to most biochemical and biomedical laboratories including those that do not perform protein purifications routinely.