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0 Q&A 347 Views Feb 5, 2024

Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are valuable viral vectors for in vivo gene transfer, also having significant ex vivo therapeutic potential. Continued efforts have focused on various gene therapy applications, capsid engineering, and scalable manufacturing processes. Adherent cells are commonly used for virus production in most basic science laboratories because of their efficiency and cost. Although suspension cells are easier to handle and scale up compared to adherent cells, their use in virus production is hampered by poor transfection efficiency. In this protocol, we developed a simple scalable AAV production protocol using serum-free-media-adapted HEK293T suspension cells and VirusGEN transfection reagent. The established protocol allows AAV production from transfection to quality analysis of purified AAV within two weeks. Typical vector yields for the described suspension system followed by iodixanol purification range from a total of 1 × 1013 to 1.5 × 1013 vg (vector genome) using 90 mL of cell suspension vs. 1 × 1013 to 2 × 1013 vg using a regular adherent cell protocol (10 × 15 cm dishes).


Key features

• Adeno-associated virus (AAV) production using serum-free-media-adapted HEK293T suspension cells.

• Efficient transfection with VirusGEN.

• High AAV yield from small-volume cell culture.


Graphical overview


0 Q&A 307 Views Dec 5, 2023

Eukaryotic cells rely on actin to support cellular structure, motility, transport, and a wide variety of other cytoplasmic functions and nuclear activities. Humans and other mammals express six closely related isoforms of actin, four of which are found primarily in skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle tissues. The final two isoforms, β and γ, are found in non-muscle cells. Due to the ease of purification, many biochemical studies surveying the functions of actin and its regulators have been carried out with protein purified from skeletal muscle. However, it has become increasingly clear that some activities are isoform specific, necessitating more accessible sources of non-muscle actin isoforms. Recent innovations permit the purification of non-muscle actins from human cell culture and heterologous systems, such as insect cell culture and the yeast Pichia pastoris. However, these systems generate mixtures of actin types or require additional steps to remove purification-related tags. We have developed strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) that express single untagged isoforms of either human non-muscle actin (β or γ) as their sole actin, allowing the purification of individual homogeneous actin isoforms by conventional purification techniques.


Key features

• Easy growth of yeast as a source of human cytoplasmic actin isoforms.

• Uses well-established actin purification methods.

• The tag-free system requires no post-purification processing.


Graphical overview




Isolating human cytoplasmic actins from yeast

0 Q&A 442 Views Nov 5, 2023

High-throughput molecular screening of microbial colonies and DNA libraries are critical procedures that enable applications such as directed evolution, functional genomics, microbial identification, and creation of engineered microbial strains to produce high-value molecules. A promising chemical screening approach is the measurement of products directly from microbial colonies via optically guided matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). Measuring the compounds from microbial colonies bypasses liquid culture with a screen that takes approximately 5 s per sample. We describe a protocol combining a dedicated informatics pipeline and sample preparation method that can prepare up to 3,000 colonies in under 3 h. The screening protocol starts from colonies grown on Petri dishes and then transferred onto MALDI plates via imprinting. The target plate with the colonies is imaged by a flatbed scanner and the colonies are located via custom software. The target plate is coated with MALDI matrix, MALDI-MS analyzes the colony locations, and data analysis enables the determination of colonies with the desired biochemical properties. This workflow screens thousands of colonies per day without requiring additional automation. The wide chemical coverage and the high sensitivity of MALDI-MS enable diverse screening projects such as modifying enzymes and functional genomics surveys of gene activation/inhibition libraries.


Key features

• Mass spectrometry analyzes a range of compounds from E. coli colonies as a proxy for liquid culture testing enzyme mutant libraries.

• Colonies are transferred to a MALDI target plate by a simple imprinting method.

• The screen compares the ratio among several products or searches for the qualitative presence of specific compounds.

• The protocol requires a MALDI mass spectrometer.


Graphical overview

Overview of the MALDI-MS analysis of microbial colonies for screening mutant libraries. Microbial cells containing a mutant library for enzymes/metabolic pathways are first grown in agar. The colonies are then imprinted onto a MALDI target plate using a filter paper intermediate. An optical image of the MALDI target plate is analyzed by custom software to find the locations of individual colonies and direct subsequent MALDI-MS analyses to the selected colonies. After applying MALDI matrix onto the target plate, MALDI-MS analysis of the colonies is performed. Colonies showing the desired product profiles are found by data analysis via the software, and the colonies are picked for downstream analysis.

0 Q&A 943 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 1334 Views Nov 20, 2022

Genome-wide screens using yeast or phage displays are powerful tools for identifying protein–ligand interactions, including drug or vaccine targets, ligand receptors, or protein–protein interactions. However, assembling libraries for genome-wide screens can be challenging and often requires unbiased cloning of 105–107 DNA fragments for a complete representation of a eukaryote genome. A sub-optimal genomic library can miss key genomic sequences and thus result in biased screens. Here, we describe an efficient method to generate genome-wide libraries for yeast surface display using Gibson assembly. The protocol entails genome fragmentation, ligation of adapters, library cloning using Gibson assembly, library transformation, library DNA recovery, and a streamlined Oxford nanopore library sequencing procedure that covers the length of the cloned DNA fragments. We also describe a computational pipeline to analyze the library coverage of the genome and predict the proportion of expressed proteins. The method allows seamless library transfer among multiple vectors and can be easily adapted to any expression system.

0 Q&A 1836 Views May 5, 2022

Based on previous in-depth characterisation, aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) are a diverse superfamily of enzymes, in terms of both structure and function, present in all kingdoms of life. They catalyse the oxidation of an aldehyde to carboxylic acid using the cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (phosphate) (NAD(P)+), and are often not substrate-specific, but rather have a broad range of associated biological functions, including detoxification and biosynthesis. We studied the structure of ALDHTt from Thermus thermophilus, as well as performed its biochemical characterisation. This allowed for insight into its potential substrates and biological roles.


In this protocol, we describe ALDHTt heterologous expression in E. coli, purification, and activity assay (based on Shortall et al., 2021). ALDHTt was first copurified as a contaminant during caa3-type cytochrome oxidase isolation from T. thermophilus. This recombinant production system was employed for structural and biochemical analysis of wild-type and mutants, and proved efficient, yielding approximately 15–20 mg/L ALDHTt. For purification of the thermophilic his-tagged ALDHTt, heat treatment, immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC), and gel filtration chromatography were used. The enzyme activity assay was performed via UV-Vis spectrophotometry, monitoring the production of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH).



Graphical abstract:



Flow chart outlining the steps in ALDHTt expression and purification, highlighting the approximate time required for each step.

0 Q&A 1691 Views Jan 20, 2022

Cell lysis, a process that releases host oligonucleotides, is required in many biotechnological applications. However, intact oligonucleotides in crude cellular lysates increase the viscosity of lysates, which complicates downstream processes and routine laboratory workflows. To address this, nucleases that hydrolyze the intact oligonucleotides are commonly added, either as purified enzymes or co-expressed in genetically engineered bacterial strains. To measure oligonucleotide hydrolysis, common DNA quantification methods, such as qPCR or fluorescence-based, require expensive reagents and equipment, and cannot distinguish different-sized DNA fragments. Here, we outline a simple alternative method for measuring DNA/RNA hydrolysis in cellular lysates, by measuring their viscosity. This method only requires common laboratory supplies and a cell phone camera.


0 Q&A 2140 Views Jan 20, 2022

Recombinant protein expression is extensively used in biological research. Despite this, current protein expression and extraction methods are not readily scalable or amenable for high-throughput applications. Optimization of protein expression conditions using traditional methods, reliant on growth-associated induction, is non-trivial. Similarly, protein extraction methods are predominantly restricted to chemical methods, and mechanical methods reliant on expensive specialized equipment more tuned for large-scale applications. In this article, we outline detailed protocols for the use of an engineered autolysis/autohydrolysis E. coli strain, in two-stage fermentations in shake-flasks. This two-stage fermentation protocol does not require optimization of expression conditions and results in high protein titers. Cell lysis in an engineered strain is tightly controlled and only triggered post-culture by addition of a 0.1% detergent solution. Upon cell lysis, a nuclease digests contaminating host oligonucleotides, which facilitates sample handling. This method has been validated for use at different scales, from microtiter plates to instrumented bioreactors.


Graphic abstract:




Two-stage protein expression, cell autolysis and DNA/RNA autohydrolysis.

Reprinted with permission from Menacho-Melgar et al. (2020a). Copyright 2020 John Wiley and Sons.


0 Q&A 3800 Views Aug 5, 2020
We have previously described the development of two specialized Escherichia coli strains for high-level recombinant membrane protein (MP) production. These engineered strains, termed SuptoxD and SuptoxR, are capable of suppressing the cytotoxicity caused by MP overexpression and of producing greatly enhanced MP yields. Here, we present a Bio-protocol that describes gene overexpression and culturing conditions that maximize the accumulation of membrane-integrated and well-folded recombinant MPs in these strains.
0 Q&A 3496 Views Apr 20, 2020
Microbial production of alkanes employing synthetic biology tools has gained tremendous attention owing to the high energy density and similarity of alkanes to existing petroleum fuels. One of the most commonly studied pathways includes the production of alkanes by AAR (acyl-ACP (acyl carrier protein) reductase)-ADO (aldehyde deformylating oxygenase) pathway. Here, the intermediates of fatty acid synthesis pathway are used as substrate by the AAR enzyme to make fatty aldehyde, which is then deformylated by ADO to make linear chain alkane. However, the variation in substrate availability to the first enzyme of the pathway, i.e., AAR, via fatty acid synthesis pathway and low turnover of the ADO enzyme make calculation of yields and titers under in vivo conditions extremely difficult. In vivo assay employing external addition of defined substrates for ADO enzyme into the medium helps to monitor the influx of substrate hence providing a more accurate measurement of the product yields. In this protocol, we include a detailed guide for implementing the in vivo assay for monitoring alkane production in E. coli.



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