Synthesis of Recombinant Human Hemoglobin With NH2-Terminal Acetylation in Escherichia coli

Chandrasekhar Natarajan, Anthony V. Signore, Vikas Kumar, Jay F. Storz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The development of new technologies for the efficient expression of recombinant hemoglobin (rHb) is of interest for experimental studies of protein biochemistry and the development of cell-free blood substitutes in transfusion medicine. Expression of rHb in Escherichia coli host cells has numerous advantages, but one disadvantage of using prokaryotic systems to express eukaryotic proteins is that they are incapable of performing post-translational modifications such as NH2-terminal acetylation. One possible solution is to coexpress additional enzymes that can perform the necessary modifications in the host cells. Here, we report a new method for synthesizing human rHb with proper NH2-terminal acetylation. Mass spectrometry experiments involving native and recombinant human Hb confirmed the efficacy of the new technique in producing correctly acetylated globin chains. Finally, functional experiments provided insights into the effects of NH2-terminal acetylation on O2 binding properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere112
JournalCurrent Protocols in Protein Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • NH-terminal acetylation
  • blood substitute
  • post-translational modification
  • recombinant hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry


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