Improved protein splicing using embedded split inteins.
Naturally split inteins mediate a traceless protein ligation process known as protein trans-splicing (PTS). Although frequently used in protein engineering applications, the efficiency of PTS can be reduced by the tendency of some split intein fusion constructs to aggregate; a consequence of the fragmented nature of the split intein itself or the polypeptide to which it is fused (the extein). Here, we report a strategy to help address this liability. This involves embedding the split intein within a protein sequence designed to stabilize either the intein fragment itself or the appended extein. We expect this approach to increase the scope of PTS-based protein engineering efforts.