Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 674 Views May 5, 2023

Western blotting is a universally used technique to identify specific proteins from a heterogeneous and complex mixture. However, there is no clear and common procedure to quantify the results obtained, resulting in variations due to the different software and protocols used in each laboratory. Here, we have developed a procedure based on the increase in chemiluminescent signal to obtain a representative value for each band to be quantified. Images were processed with ImageJ and subsequently compared using R software. The result is a linear regression model in which we use the slope of the signal increase within the combined linear range of detection to compare between samples. This approach allows to quantify and compare protein levels from different conditions in a simple and reproducible way.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 415 Views Apr 20, 2023

Palmitoylation is a unique and reversible posttranslational lipid modification (PTM) that plays a critical role in many cellular events, including protein stability, activity, membrane association, and protein–protein interactions. The dynamic nature of palmitoylation dictates the efficient sorting of various retinal proteins to specific subcellular compartments. However, the underlying mechanism through which palmitoylation supports efficient protein trafficking in the retina remains unclear. Recent studies show that palmitoylation can also function as a signaling PTM, underlying epigenetic regulation and homeostasis in the retina. Efficient isolation of retinal palmitoyl proteome will pave the way to a better understanding of the role(s) for palmitoylation in visual function. The standard methods for detecting palmitoylated proteins employ 3H- or 14C-radiolabeled palmitic acid and have many limitations, including poor sensitivity. Relatively recent studies use thiopropyl Sepharose 6B resin, which offers efficient detection of palmitoylated proteome but is now discontinued from the market. Here, we describe a modified acyl resin–assisted capture (Acyl-RAC) method using agarose S3 high-capacity resin to purify palmitoylated proteins from the retina and other tissues, which is greatly compatible with downstream processing by LC-MS/MS. Unlike other palmitoylation assays, the present protocol is easy to perform and cost-effective.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 323 Views Apr 20, 2023

In cells, p62/SQSTM1 undergoes liquid–liquid phase separation (LLPS) with poly-ubiquitin chains to form p62 bodies that work as a hub for various cellular events, including selective autophagy. Cytoskeleton components such as Arp2/3-derived branched actin network and motor protein myosin 1D have been shown to actively participate in the formation of phase-separated p62 bodies. Here, we describe a detailed protocol on the purification of p62 and other proteins, the assembly of the branched actin network, and the reconstitution of p62 bodies along with cytoskeletal structures in vitro. This cell-free reconstitution of p62 bodies vividly mimics the phenomenon in which low concentrations of protein in vivo rely on cytoskeleton dynamics to increase the local concentration to reach the threshold for phase separation. This protocol provides an easily implemented and typical model system to study cytoskeleton-involved protein phase separation.

0 Q&A 189 Views Apr 5, 2023

Zebrafish is an excellent model to study vertebrate neurobiology, but its synaptic components that mediate and regulate fast electrical synaptic transmission are largely unidentified. Here, we describe methods to solubilize and immunoprecipitate adult zebrafish brain homogenate under conditions to preserve electrical synapse protein complexes. The methods presented are well-suited to probe electrical synapse immunocomplexes, and potentially other brain-derived immunocomplexes, for candidate interactors from zebrafish brain.

0 Q&A 328 Views Mar 20, 2023

Co-immunoprecipitation or pull-down assays are frequently used to analyze protein–protein interactions. In these experiments, western blotting is commonly used to detect prey proteins. However, sensitivity and quantification problems remain in this detection system. Recently, the HiBiT-tag-dependent NanoLuc luciferase system was developed as a highly sensitive detection system for small amounts of proteins. In this report, we introduce the method of using HiBiT technology for the detection of prey protein in a pull-down assay. Using this protocol, we demonstrate the formation of a ternary complex consisting of Japanese encephalitis virus NS4B and two host factors, namely valosin-containing protein, and nuclear protein localization protein 4, which is a critical biological event during flavivirus replication in cells.

0 Q&A 280 Views Mar 5, 2023

Redox status assessments are time-consuming, require a large volume of samples and great reagent amounts, and are not adequately described for methodological reproducibility. Here, the objective was to standardize redox balance determination, based on previously described spectrophotometric tests in pregnant rats, to improve precision, time dispensed, and the volume of samples and reagents, while maintaining accuracy and adequate cost benefits. This protocol summarizes oxidative stress markers, which focus on spectrophotometric tests for the assessment of thiobarbituric acid–reactive substances, reduced thiol groups, and hydrogen peroxide, as well as the antioxidant activity of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase in washed erythrocyte and serum samples from full-term pregnant rats. For non-pregnant rats and other species, it is necessary to standardize these determinations, especially the sample volume. All measurements were normalized by the estimated protein concentrations in each sample. To establish optimum conditions for the reproducibility of the proposed methods, we describe all changes made in each assay’s steps based on the reference method reassessed for the new standardizations. Furthermore, the calculations of the concentrations or activities of each marker are presented. Thus, we demonstrate that the analysis of serum samples is easier and faster, but it is impossible to detect catalase activity. Furthermore, the proposed methods can be applied for redox balance determination, especially using smaller reagent amounts and lower sample volumes in lesser time without losing accuracy, as is required in obtaining samples during rat pregnancy.

0 Q&A 361 Views Mar 5, 2023

Recombinant proteins of high quality are crucial starting materials for all downstream applications, but the inherent complexities of proteins and their expression and purification create significant challenges. The Pichia pastoris yeast is a highly useful eukaryotic protein expression system. Pichia’s low cost, genetic tractability, rapid gene expression, and scalability make it an ideal expression system for foreign proteins. Here, we developed a protocol that has optimized the expression and isolation of a non-mammalian secreted metalloprotease, where we can routinely generate recombinant proteins that are pure and proteolytically active. We maximized growth and protein production by altering the feeding regime, through implementation of a non-fermentable and non-repressing carbon source during the methanol-induction phase. This approach increased biomass production and yielded milligrams of recombinant protein. Downstream applications involving active, recombinant fungal proteases, such as conjugation to nanoparticles and structure-related studies, are greatly facilitated with this improved, standardized approach.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 369 Views Mar 5, 2023

In mammals, the skin comprises several distinct cell populations that are organized into the following layers: epidermis (stratum corneum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and basal layer), basement membrane, dermis, and hypodermal (subcutaneous fat) layers. It is vital to identify the exact location and function of proteins in different skin layers. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) is an effective technique for obtaining pure cell populations from complex tissue sections for disease-specific genomic and proteomic analysis. In this study, we used LCM to isolate different skin layers, constructed a stratified developmental lineage proteome map of human skin that incorporates spatial protein distribution, and obtained new insights into the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) on stem cell regulation.

0 Q&A 237 Views Feb 20, 2023

The zebrafish retina is a canonical vertebrate retina. Since the past few years, with the continually growing genetic toolbox and imaging techniques, zebrafish plays a crucial role in retinal research. This protocol describes a method to quantitatively evaluate the expression of Arrestin3a (Arr3a) and G-protein receptor kinase7a (Grk7a) in the adult zebrafish retina at protein levels by infrared fluorescence western blot. Our protocol can be easily adapted to measure protein levels in additional zebrafish tissues.

0 Q&A 395 Views Feb 20, 2023

Far-western blotting, derived from the western blot, has been used to detect interactions between proteins in vitro, such as receptor–ligand interactions. The insulin signaling pathway plays a critical role in the regulation of both metabolism and cell growth. The binding of the insulin receptor substrate (IRS) to the insulin receptor is essential for the propagation of downstream signaling after the activation of the insulin receptor by insulin. Here, we describe a step-by-step far-western blotting protocol for determining the binding of IRS to the insulin receptor.

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