- Preparative scale production of functional mouse aquaporin 4 using different cell-free expression modes (2010)
- The continuous progress in the structural and functional characterization of aquaporins increasingly attracts attention to study their roles in certain mammalian diseases. Although several structures of aquaporins have already been solved by crystallization, the challenge of producing sufficient amounts of functional proteins still remains. CF (cell free) expression has emerged in recent times as a promising alternative option in order to synthesize large quantities of membrane proteins, and the focus of this report was to evaluate the potential of this technique for the production of eukaryotic aquaporins. We have selected the mouse aquaporin 4 as a representative of mammalian aquaporins. The protein was synthesized in an E. coli extract based cell-free system with two different expression modes, and the efficiencies of two modes were compared. In both, the P-CF (cell-free membrane protein expression as precipitate) mode generating initial aquaporin precipitates as well as in the D-CF (cell-free membrane protein expression in presence of detergent) mode, generating directly detergent solubilized samples, we were able to obtain mg amounts of protein per ml of cell-free reaction. Purified aquaporin samples solubilized in different detergents were reconstituted into liposomes, and analyzed for the water channel activity. The calculated Pf value of proteoliposome samples isolated from the D-CF mode was 133 µm/s at 10°C, which was 5 times higher as that of the control. A reversible inhibitory effect of mercury chloride was observed, which is consistent with previous observations of in vitro reconstituted aquaporin 4. In this study, a fast and convenient protocol was established for functional expression of aquaporins, which could serve as basis for further applications such as water filtration.
- Artificial environments for the co-translational stabilization of cell-free expressed proteins (2013)
- An approach for designing individual expression environments that reduce or prevent protein aggregation and precipitation is described. Inefficient folding of difficult proteins in unfavorable translation environments can cause significant losses of overexpressed proteins as precipitates or inclusion bodies. A number of chemical chaperones including alcohols, polyols, polyions or polymers are known to have positive effects on protein stability. However, conventional expression approaches can use such stabilizing agents only post-translationally during protein extraction and purification. Proteins that already precipitate inside of the producer cells cannot be addressed. The open nature of cell-free protein expression systems offers the option to include single chemicals or cocktails of stabilizing compounds already into the expression environment. We report an approach for systematic screening of stabilizers in order to improve the solubility and quality of overexpressed proteins co-translationally. A comprehensive list of representative protein stabilizers from the major groups of naturally occurring chemical chaperones has been analyzed and their concentration ranges tolerated by cell-free expression systems have been determined. As a proof of concept, we have applied the method to improve the yield of proteins showing instability and partial precipitation during cell-free synthesis. Stabilizers that co-translationally improve the solubility and functional folding of human glucosamine 6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase have been identified and cumulative effects of stabilizers have been studied.
- Splicefinder : a fast and easy screening method for active protein trans-splicing positions (2013)
- Split intein enabled protein trans-splicing (PTS) is a powerful method for the ligation of two protein fragments, thereby paving the way for various protein modification or protein function control applications. PTS activity is strongly influenced by the amino acids directly flanking the splice junctions. However, to date no reliable prediction can be made whether or not a split intein is active in a particular foreign extein context. Here we describe SPLICEFINDER, a PCR-based method, allowing fast and easy screening for active split intein insertions in any target protein. Furthermore we demonstrate the applicability of SPLICEFINDER for segmental isotopic labeling as well as for the generation of multi-domain and enzymatically active proteins.
- Peak picking NMR spectral data using non-negative matrix factorization (2014)
- Background: Simple peak-picking algorithms, such as those based on lineshape fitting, perform well when peaks are completely resolved in multidimensional NMR spectra, but often produce wrong intensities and frequencies for overlapping peak clusters. For example, NOESY-type spectra have considerable overlaps leading to significant peak-picking intensity errors, which can result in erroneous structural restraints. Precise frequencies are critical for unambiguous resonance assignments. Results: To alleviate this problem, a more sophisticated peaks decomposition algorithm, based on non-negative matrix factorization (NMF), was developed. We produce peak shapes from Fourier-transformed NMR spectra. Apart from its main goal of deriving components from spectra and producing peak lists automatically, the NMF approach can also be applied if the positions of some peaks are known a priori, e.g. from consistently referenced spectral dimensions of other experiments. Conclusions: Application of the NMF algorithm to a three-dimensional peak list of the 23 kDa bi-domain section of the RcsD protein (RcsD-ABL-HPt, residues 688-890) as well as to synthetic HSQC data shows that peaks can be picked accurately also in spectral regions with strong overlap.
- DNA damage in oocytes induces a switch of the quality control factor TAp63α from dimer to tetramer (2011)
- TAp63a, a homolog of the p53 tumor suppressor, is a quality control factor in the female germline. Remarkably, already undamaged oocytes express high levels of the protein, suggesting that TAp63a’s activity is under tight control of an inhibitory mechanism. Biochemical studies have proposed that inhibition requires the C-terminal transactivation inhibitory domain. However, the structural mechanism of TAp63a inhibition remains unknown. Here, we show that TAp63a is kept in an inactive dimeric state. We reveal that relief of inhibition leads to tetramer formation with ~20-fold higher DNA affinity. In vivo, phosphorylation-triggered tetramerization of TAp63a is not reversible by dephosphorylation. Furthermore, we show that a helix in the oligomerization domain of p63 is crucial for tetramer stabilization and competes with the transactivation domain for the same binding site. Our results demonstrate how TAp63a is inhibited by complex domain-domain interactions that provide the basis for regulating quality control in oocytes.
- How to switch a master switch (2013)
- The crystal structure of a nucleotide exchange factor in white blood cells reveals an autoinhibitory mechanism that reinforces the switch-like behaviour of the signalling protein Ras. Research organism: Human
- The parallel G-quadruplex structure of vertebrate telomeric repeat sequences is not the preferred folding topology under physiological conditions (2011)
- G-quadruplex topologies of telomeric repeat sequences from vertebrates were investigated in the presence of molecular crowding (MC) mimetics, namely polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG), Ficoll 70 as well as Xenopus laevis egg extract by CD and NMR spectroscopy and native PAGE. Here, we show that the conformational behavior of the telomeric repeats in X. laevis egg extract or in Ficoll is notably different from that observed in the presence of PEG. While the behavior of the telomeric repeat in X. laevis egg extract or in Ficoll resembles results obtained under dilute conditions, PEG promotes the formation of high-order parallel topologies. Our data suggest that PEG should not be used as a MC mimetic.
- The C-terminus of p63 contains multiple regulatory elements with different functions (2010)
- The transcription factor p63 is expressed as at least six different isoforms, of which two have been assigned critical biological roles within ectodermal development and skin stem cell biology on the one hand and supervision of the genetic stability of oocytes on the other hand. These two isoforms contain a C-terminal inhibitory domain that negatively regulates their transcriptional activity. This inhibitory domain contains two individual components: one that uses an internal binding mechanism to interact with and mask the transactivation domain and one that is based on sumoylation. We have carried out an extensive alanine scanning study to identify critical regions within the inhibitory domain. These experiments show that a stretch of ~13 amino acids is crucial for the binding function. Further, investigation of transcriptional activity and the intracellular level of mutants that cannot be sumoylated suggests that sumoylation reduces the concentration of p63. We therefore propose that the inhibitory function of the C-terminal domain is in part due to direct inhibition of the transcriptional activity of the protein and in part due to indirect inhibition by controlling the concentration of p63. Keywords: p63, transcriptional regulation, auto-inhibition, sumoylation