Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 385 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 1467 Views Jan 20, 2022

G-protein coupled signaling pathways are organized into multi-protein complexes called signalosomes that are located within and on cellular membranes. We describe the use of silica nanoparticles coated with a unilamellar phospholipid bilayer (lipobeads) to reconstitute the activated photoreceptor G-protein α-subunit (Gtα*) with its cognate effector (phosphodiesterase-6; PDE6) for biochemical and structural studies of the activation mechanism regulating this GPCR signaling pathway. Lipobeads are prepared by resuspending dried-down phospholipid mixtures with monodisperse 70 nm silica particles, followed by extrusion through a 100 nm membrane filter. This uniform and supported liposomal preparation is easily sedimented, permitting the separation of soluble from membrane-associated proteins. Upon loading lipobeads with Gtα* and PDE6, we find that activation of PDE6 catalysis by Gtα* occurs much more efficiently than in the absence of membranes. Chemical cross-linking of membrane-confined proteins allows detection of changes in protein-protein interactions, resulting from G-protein activation of PDE6. The advantages of using lipobeads over partially purified membrane preparations or traditional liposomal preparations are generally applicable to the study of other membrane-confined signal transduction pathways.

0 Q&A 2067 Views Sep 20, 2021

Cortactin is an actin-binding protein that regulates processes like cell migration, endocytosis, and tumor cell metastasis. Although cortactin is associated with actin-cytoskeletal dynamics in non-neuronal cells and cell-free systems, the exact mechanisms underlying its fundamental roles in neuronal growth cones are not fully explored. Recent reports show that Aplysia Src2 tyrosine kinase induces phosphorylation of cortactin as a mechanism to control lamellipodia protrusion and filopodia formation in cultured Aplysia bag cell neurons (He et al., 2015; Ren et al., 2019). In order to provide in vitro evidence for Src2-mediated phosphorylation of cortactin, we developed a robust and cost-effective method for the efficient expression and purification of Aplysia cortactin and Src2 kinase that can be used for biochemical studies including phosphorylation assays. By co-purifying cortactin and Src kinase with a phosphatase (YopH) from Yersinia enterocolitica, we eliminated the problem of non-specific phosphorylation of induced proteins by bacterial kinases and also reduced costs by bypassing the need for commercial enzymatic treatments. This protocol is reproducible and can be modified to produce homogenous non-phosphorylated proteins during recombinant protein expression in Escherichia coli.

0 Q&A 3131 Views Sep 20, 2020
One of the major histopathological hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease are Lewy bodies (LBs) –cytoplasmic inclusions, enriched with fibrillar forms of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (α-syn). Progressive deposition of α-syn into LBs is enabled by its propensity to fibrillize into insoluble aggregates. We recently described a marked reduction in α-syn fibrillation in vitro upon posttranslational modification (PTM) by the Fic (Filamentation induced by cAMP) family adenylyltransferase HYPE/FICD (Huntingtin yeast-interacting protein E/FICD). Specifically, HYPE utilizes ATP to covalently decorate key threonine residues in α-syn’s N-terminal and NAC (non-amyloid-β component) regions with AMP (adenosine monophosphate), in a PTM termed AMPylation or adenylylation. Status quo in vitro AMPylation reactions of HYPE substrates, such as α-syn, use a variety of ATP analogs, including radiolabeled α-32P-ATP or α-33P-ATP, fluorescent ATP analogs, biotinylated-ATP analogs (N6-[6-hexamethyl]-ATP-Biotin), as well as click-chemistry-based alkyl-ATP methods for gel-based detection of AMPylation. Current literature describing a step-by-step protocol of HYPE-mediated AMPylation relies on an α-33P-ATP nucleotide instead of the more commonly available α-32P-ATP. Though effective, this former procedure requires a lengthy and hazardous DMSO-PPO (dimethyl sulfoxide-polyphenyloxazole) precipitation. Thus, we provide a streamlined alternative to the α-33P-ATP-based method, which obviates the DMSO-PPO precipitation step. Described here is a detailed procedure for HYPE mediated AMPylation of α-syn using α-32P-ATP as a nucleotide source. Moreover, our use of a reusable Phosphor screen for AMPylation detection, in lieu of the standard, single-use autoradiography film, provides a faster, more sensitive and cost-effective alternative.
0 Q&A 3643 Views Nov 5, 2019
In our recently published paper, we highlight that during normal aging of C. elegans age-dependent aggregates of proteins form and lead to functional decline of tissues. The protocol described here details the isolation of two proteins from C. elegans in their aggregated amyloid-like form, casein kinase I isoform alpha (KIN-19) and Ras-like GTP-binding protein rhoA (RHO-1). We used nickel beads to isolate His-tagged KIN-19 and RHO-1, and thus permitting the isolation of both small and large aggregated or fibrillary forms of the proteins. We characterized their morphology by transmission electron microscopy. We further expressed RFP-tagged proteins and stained them with a fluorescent molecule, thioflavin T, which identifies β-sheet structures, and which is a defining feature of amyloid fibrils. We further applied structured illumination microscopy to determine the level of colocalization between RFP and thioflavin T.
1 Q&A 7612 Views Nov 20, 2018
Dysfunction of the microtubule-associated protein Tau (encoded by the MAPT gene) has been implicated in more than twenty neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. As such, the physiological and disease-relevant functions of Tau have garnered great interest in the research community. One barrier hampering investigations into the functions of Tau and the generation of pharmacological agents targeting Tau has been the difficulty of obtaining soluble Tau protein in purified form. Here, we describe a protocol that uses dual affinity tag purification to selectively purify soluble recombinant Tau protein from bacteria that is functionally active for downstream applications including immunization, microtubule binding assays, and protein-protein interaction studies.
8 Q&A 17995 Views Oct 5, 2018
Shuttling of proteins between different cellular compartments controls their proteostasis and can contribute in some cases to regulate their activity. Biochemical analysis of chromatin-bound proteins, such as transcription factors, is often difficult because of their low yield and due to the interference from nucleic acids. This protocol describes a method to efficiently fractionate cells combined with a mechanical (i.e., sonication) or an enzymatic treatment (i.e., benzonase) that facilitates analysis of chromatin-bound protein extracts by Western blot analysis or by protein pull-down assays. This approach can be valuable to enrich a particular protein within a particular subcellular fraction either to study specific post-translational modification patterns or to identify specific protein-protein interactions.
0 Q&A 5600 Views Dec 20, 2017
In this paper, our protocol for preparation of brain synaptosomes is described. Synaptosomes are a valuable model system for analysis of structural components of the synapse as well as for investigation of synaptic function. Synaptosomal preparations are necessary for understanding molecular changes at synapses where critical post-translational modifications of synaptic proteins may occur. Not only are synaptosomes rich in synaptic proteins, but they can be used for analyzing uptake of neurotransmitters into synaptic vesicles and for analysis of the involvement of neurotransmitter synthesis and release. Synaptosomes can be stimulated with increased calcium influx to release neurotransmitters. Synaptosomal preparations have been used in characterizing calcium dependent phosphorylation and activation of the GABA synthesizing enzyme GAD65 (L-glutamic acid decarboxylase with molecular weight of 65 kDa). By examining protein complexes on the membrane of synaptic vesicles obtained from synaptosomal preparations, it was possible to characterize the role of GAD65 in the coupled synthesis and vesicular uptake of GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) culminating in GABA vesicular release, which contributes in an important way to fine-tuning of GABAergic neurotransmission.
3 Q&A 27006 Views Aug 5, 2017
The current protocol details the preparation of soluble and insoluble protein lysates from mouse brain or spinal cord samples. In detail, tissue homogenization and sequential protein extraction are described. This procedure yields soluble and insoluble protein extracts that can be further processed in down-stream applications like ELISA or Western blotting.

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