RH2.2 IPTG-based rAB Expression

Expression and purification of rAB’s cloned into the RH2.2 expression vector.

1.0 Introduction

This method is for the mid-scale expression and purification of Fabs from the RH2.2 pTAC-based IPTGinducible vector.

2.0 Materials


  • 250 mL baffled flasks (Fisher Scientific, 10-140-6A)
  • 50 mL Conical Tube (Bioexpress, LLC C-3394-4)
  • 15 mL Biorad protein purification columns (EconoPac, 732-1010)
  • 1.7 mL Eppendorf tubes (Axygen, MCT-150-C)


Name Company Catalog Number
N-Z Amine Fluka C02626-1KG
yeast extract Bioshop YEX401.1
bio-tryptone Bioshop TRP402.1
glucose Sigma G8270-1KG
carbenicillin Bioshop CAR544.10
Tween 20 Bioshop TWN510.500
potassium chloride Bioshop POC308.1
calcium chloride Bioshop CCL302.500
magnesium chloride Bioshop MAG510.500
monobasic potassium phosphate Bioshop PPM302.1
dibasic sodium phosphate Anachemia 84486-440
ammonium chloride Amresco 0621-1KG
ammonium sulphate Bioshop AMP302
sodium sulphate Bioshop SOS513.500
magnesium sulphate BDH BDH0246-500G
sodium chloride Bioshop Sod001.10
phosphoric acid Acros Organics 201140010
lysozyme Bioshop LYS702.25
benzonase Novagen 71205
Triton X-100 Bioshop TRX506.500
protease inhibitor cocktail tablets Roche 11 836 170 001
Protein A sepharose GE Healthsciences 17-1279-03
IPTG Bioshop IPT001.50
chemically competent
T1r BL21 E. coli



  • KCl (500 mM)
  • CaCL2 (150 mM)
  • MgCl2 (250 mM)

2YT media

  • 1% yeast extract (10 g)
  • 1.6% bio-tryptone (16 g)
  • 86 mM NaCl (5 g)
  • Make up volume to 1L and adjust pH to 7.0

20X salt stock

  • 500 mM Na2HPO4 (70.98 g)
  • 500 mM KH2PO4 (68.05 g)
  • 1M NH4Cl (53.4 g)
  • 100 mM Na2SO4 (14.20 g)
  • Mix with heating and sterile filter or autoclave until dissolved and make up to 1L. Store at RT

NZY media

  • 1% N-Z-Amine (10g)
  • 0.5% yeast extract (5 g)
  • Mix in 500 mL and stir until dissolved
  • Add 50 mL of 20X salt
  • Add 2 mL of 1M MgSO4
  • Make up volume to 980 mL and autoclave

Lysis buffer:

  • 50mM Tris
  • 150mM NaCl
  • 1%Triton X-100
  • 1mg/ml lysozyme
  • 2mM MgCl2
  • 10U benzonase

Elution buffer:

  • 50mM NaH2PO4
  • 140mM NaCl
  • 100mM H3PO4
  • pH 2.5

3.0 Transformation

  • 3.1 Thaw 25 μL of chemically competent BL21-T1r cells on ice
  • 3.2 Add 50 ng of sequence-verified pTAC-based RH2.2 expression plasmid to a mixture of 4 μL of 5X KCM in 16 μL of MilliQ H2O on ice
  • 3.3 Chill mixture on ice for 10 minutes
  • 3.4 Add 20 mL of chemically competent BL21-T1r cells to the mixture of KCM and DNA
  • 3.5 Incubate 20 min on ice, transfer to the benchtop, incubate 10 min at RT, return to ice and incubate 2 min on ice

4.0 Expression

  • 4.1 Following the last stage of transformation on ice, transfer the entirety of the cell/DNA mixture in to 25 mL of 2YT supplemented with 50 μg/mL carb in a 50 mL Falcon tube, leaving the lid loose but taped secure to allow gas transfer
  • 4.2 Inoculate 1/40th volume (2.5 mL) of overnight culture into NZY media + 50 μg/mL carb (100 mL) supplemented with 1/20th volume of 20X salt mixture
  • 4.3 Grow 2-3 hr at 37oC, 200rpm until OD 0.8-1.0 achieved
  • 4.4 Induce culture with 1/1000th volume of 1M IPTG (i.e. 100 μL in to 100 mL of culture)
  • 4.5 Continue growing for 6-8 hrs at 30oC and shaking at 200 rpm
  • 4.6 Transfer ½ the volume of culture to a 50 mL Falcon tube and pellet cells at 8000 rpms for 20 min.
  • 4.7 Discard supernatant and repeat to obtain a single pellet.
  • 4.8 Discard remaining supernatant. At this point the pellet can be frozen for purification at a later date of lysed for purification as per the following step.

5.0 Purification

  • 5.1 Lyse pellet by the addition of 10 mL of lysis buffer and nutation for 1.5-4 hrs at 4oC
  • 5.2 To ensure complete lysis, mixture can be sonicated for 1 min at 40% intensity using a 1 min program of 5 seconds on and 5 seconds off.
  • 5.3 Centrifuge the pellet lysate at 9000rpm for 20min.
  • 5.4 Add 250 μl of a protein A sepharose slurry to a 15 ml GF column.
  • 5.5 Equilibrate resin with 25 mL of 1X PBS, drain and cap.
  • 5.6 Transfer the lysate supernatant to the equilibrated protein A column and allow binding to proceed for 30 min at 4oC with occasional mixing of the resin with the supernatant.
  • 5.7 Drain the supernatant from the column retaining the flow-through and wash the resin bed with 40 ml of 1X PBS.
  • 5.8 Add 60 μl of 1M Tris pH 8 added to Eppendorf collection tubes to neutralize the elution buffer.
  • 5.9 Add 300 μl Fab elution buffer (above) to each capped column and incubate 5 min before draining in to an Eppendorf containing neutralization buffer.
  • 5.10 Elution step can be repeated for a total elution volume of 600 μl neutralized with 1200 μl Tris.
  • 5.11 Additional polishing steps can be carried out as necessary.
  • 5.12 Columns can be regenerated with 10mL of 100mM H3PO4, washed with 20ml TBS, stored in 2ml 20% EtOH at 4oC.

Please send corrections, modifications and suggestions to smiersch@recombinant-antibodies.org

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