Dynamics of in vivo protein aggregation: Building inclusion bodies in recombinant bacteria

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Time-dependent aggregation of a plasmid-encoded β-galactosidase fusion protein, VP1LAC, has been carefully monitored during its high-rate synthesis in Escherichia coli. Immediately after recombinant gene induction, the full-length form of the protein steadily accumulates into rapidly growing cytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Their volume increases during at least 5 h at a rate of 0.4 μm3 h-1, while the average density remains constant. Protein VP1LAC accounts for about 90% of the aggregated protein throughout the building process. Minor components, such as DnaK and GroEL chaperones, have been identified in variable, but low concentrations. The homogeneous distribution of inclusion bodies among the cell population and the coexistence of large, still growing bodies with newly appearing aggregates indicate that the aggregation cores are mutually exclusive, this fact being a main determinant of the in vivo dynamics of protein aggregation. Copyright (C) 1998 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998


  • β-Galactosidase
  • Escherichia coli
  • Inclusion body
  • Misfolding
  • Protein aggregation
  • Recombinant protein


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