Solubilization of active green fluorescent protein from insoluble particles by guanidine and arginine

Kouhei Tsumoto, Mitsuo Umetsu, Izumi Kumagai, Daisuke Ejima, Tsutomu Arakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Citations (Scopus)


Expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in Escherichia coli (E. coli) resulted in only small amount of soluble and fluorescent GFP protein and hence most of the protein in insoluble particles. The expressed GFP in insoluble particles, however, was fluorescent, indicating that it is at least in part folded with an intact chromophore. The GFP in insoluble particles could not be solubilized by an aqueous (denaturant-free) buffer. Solubilization of active GFP from insoluble particles was then attempted with guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl), a strong protein-denaturant, or L-arginine, an aggregation suppressor. Solubilization from insoluble particles by 6M GdnHCl led to complete denaturation of the GFP existing in insoluble particles, while GdnHCl solution at lower concentration could solubilize fluorescent GFP. Solubilization of fluorescently active GFP from insoluble particles was also achieved by L-arginine. It is noteworthy that L-arginine was stronger in solubilizing insoluble GFP than GdnHCl below 2M. These results demonstrate that some proteins expressed in E. coli may form insoluble particles containing native conformation and L-arginine may be used to recover the proteins in the native form from such insoluble particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1386
Number of pages4
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Dec 26


  • Aggregation
  • Insoluble particle
  • L-Arginine
  • Refolding


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