Strep-tag technology: simple protein purification

Worldwide, tons of proteins are produced in so-called fermenters by bacteria and other microorganisms on a daily basis in labs and production sites. However, separation and purification of the desired protein is costly and time consuming. The Strep-tag technology invented by Prof. Dr Arne Skerra and Dr Thomas Schmidt at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt enables the separation and purification of a desired protein in a single step.

The method works by attaching a short peptide sequence, the so-called strep-tag, to the protein during production. The tag has a high affinity to streptavidin, a well-established lab reagent. If the protein solution is then poured onto a purification column in which Strep-Tactin, a streptavidin analogue is bound to the column material, the desired protein is selectively separated.

The technology was out-licensed by Max Planck Innovation to IBA GmbH in Göttingen. In the meantime, Strep-tag is the world's leading tool for the purification of proteins.