N-terminal-based targeted, inducible protein degradation in Escherichia coli

Karthik Sekar, Andrew M. Gentile, John W. Bostick, Keith E.J. Tyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Dynamically altering protein concentration is a central activity in synthetic biology. While many tools are available to modulate protein concentration by altering protein synthesis rate, methods for decreasing protein concentration by inactivation or degradation rate are just being realized. Altering protein synthesis rates can quickly increase the concentration of a protein but not decrease, as residual protein will remain for a while. Inducible, targeted protein degradation is an attractive option and some tools have been introduced for higher organisms and bacteria. Current bacterial tools rely on C-terminal fusions, so we have developed an N-terminal fusion (Ntag) strategy to increase the possible proteins that can be targeted. We demonstrate Ntag dependent degradation of mCherry and beta-galactosidase and reconfigure the Ntag system to perform dynamic, exogenously inducible degradation of a targeted protein and complement protein depletion by traditional synthesis repression. Model driven analysis that focused on rates, rather than concentrations, was critical to understanding and engineering the system. We expect this tool and our model to enable inducible protein degradation use particularly in metabolic engineering, biological study of essential proteins, and protein circuits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0149746
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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