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Cell-Free Expression, Purification, and Characterization of the Functional β2-Adrenergic Receptor for Multianalyte Detection of β-Agonists

Jian Wang1,2*, Yuan Liu1,3, Junhua Zhang3, Zhengzheng Han1, Wei Wang1, Yang Liu1, Dong Wei1, and Wei Huang3

1Food Safety Research Center, Hebei North University, Zhangjiakou 075000, China; E-mail: xuanyuanjian0228@126.com

2Institute of Quality Standards and Testing Technology for Agro-Products of CAAS, Key Laboratory of Agro-Product Quality and Safety, Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing 100081, China

3Hebei North University, College of Agriculture and Forestry, Zhangjiakou 075000, China

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received May 22, 2017; Revision received July 7, 2017
Large-scale expression of β2-adrenergic receptor (β2-AR) in functional form is necessary for establishment of receptor assays for detecting illegally abused β-adrenergic agonists (β-agonists). Cell-based heterologous expression systems have manycritical difficulties in synthesizing this membrane protein, such as low protein yields and aberrant folding. To overcome these challenges, the main objective of the present work was to synthesize large amounts of functional β2-AR in a cell-free system based on Escherichia coli extracts. A codon-optimized porcine β2-AR gene (codon adaptation index: 0.96) suitable for high expression in E. coli was synthesized and transcribed to the cell-free system, which contributed to increase the expression up to 1.1 mg/ml. After purification using Ni-affinity chromatography, the bioactivity of the purified receptor was measured by novel enzyme-linked receptor assays. It was determined that the relative affinities of the purified β2-AR for β-agonists in descending order were as follows: clenbuterol > salbutamol > ractopamine. Moreover, their IC50 values were 45.99, 60.38, and 78.02 µg/liter, respectively. Although activity of the cell-free system was slightly lower than activity of systems based on insect and mammalian cells, this system should allow production of β2-AR in bulk amounts sufficient for the development of multianalyte screening methods for detecting β-agonist residues.
KEY WORDS: cell-free expression, β2-adrenergic receptor, codon optimization, purification, β-agonist, receptor-based assay

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297917110128