BL21 strains are the most widely used hosts for protein expression from pET recombinants and have the advantage of being deficient in both lon and ompT proteases. DE3 indicates that the host is a lysogen of λDE3, and therefore carries a chromosomal copy of the T7 RNA polymerase gene under control of the lacUV5 promoter. Such strains are suitable for production of protein from target genes cloned in pET vectors by induction with IPTG. pLysS strains express T7 lysozyme, which further suppresses basal expression of T7 RNA polymerase prior to induction, thus stabilizing pET recombinants encoding target proteins that affect cell growth and viability.
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