Molecular Biology

Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1009 Views Nov 20, 2022

Membrane transporters and soluble binding proteins recognize particular nutrients, metabolites, vitamins, or ligands. By modifying genetically engineered single cysteine residues near the active sites of such proteins with extrinsic maleimide fluorophores, the approaches that we report create sensitive fluorescent sensors that detect, quantify, and monitor molecules that are relevant to the biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and clinical properties of pro- and eukaryotic organisms.

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0 Q&A 565 Views Sep 20, 2022

When performing renal biopsy, it is necessary to identify the cortex, where glomeruli are exclusively distributed, to ensure the quality of the specimen for histological diagnosis. However, conventional methods using a stereomicroscope or magnifying lens often fail to clarify the quality of the specimen. We have established a fluorescent-based imaging technique for the on-site assessment of renal biopsy specimens. The fluorescent images can be easily obtained by adding an optical filter to the microscope and with a short incubation of an activatable fluorescent probe. This novel imaging technique can be applied to renal biopsy specimens for distinguishing the renal cortex.

0 Q&A 1526 Views Oct 5, 2021

The complement system is a central component of innate immunity, responsible for recognition and killing of bacteria by tagging invaders through opsonisation, thereby promoting phagocytosis, and by direct lysis. Complement activity is routinely measured using functional assays that utilise erythrocytes as targets. The classical pathway haemolytic assay (CH50) with antibody sensitised sheep erythrocytes as target is used worldwide in clinical and research laboratories to measure complement activity in human and rodent sera. While there are no particular limitations in the human assay, measuring complement in mouse serum is more difficult and usually requires large amounts of serum, which is challenging to collect in experiments. In particular, it is challenging to measure the activities of individual mouse complement proteins. To overcome this hurdle, we have developed protocols that employ human sera depleted of single complement proteins as the source of the other complement proteins and test mouse serum to restore the relevant component. This simple haemolytic assay is a useful tool for confirming natural or engineered complement deficiencies and complement dysregulation in mouse models.

0 Q&A 2725 Views Aug 20, 2021

Inteins garner significant interest from both basic and applied researchers due to their unique catalytic abilities. Herein, we describe a protocol for accurately monitoring protein splicing without purification using in-gel fluorescence immediately following Tris-Glycine SDS-PAGE. Following expression in Escherichia coli, cells are lysed by sonication, cell supernatants are separated using Tris-Glycine SDS-PAGE, and superfolder GFP (sfGFP) fluorescence is directly visualized within gels. This method is rapid, with sfGFP immediately imaged following SDS-PAGE without staining. Further, sfGFP can be specifically detected in complex samples such as E. coli cell supernatants, proteins run at expected masses, and all steps can be performed at ambient temperature. This strategy is broadly applicable beyond the study of protein splicing and can be used for sensitive and specific visualization of superfolder sfGFP-tagged proteins in-gel.

0 Q&A 4047 Views May 20, 2020
It is important to experimentally determine how membrane proteins are integrated into biomembranes to unveil the roles of the integration factors, and to understand the functions and structures of membrane proteins. We have developed a reconstitution system for membrane protein integration in E. coli using purified factors, in which the integration reaction in vivo is highly reproducible. This system enabled not only analysis of membrane-embedded factors including glycolipid MPIase, but also elucidation of the detailed mechanisms underlying membrane protein integration. Using the system, the integration of membrane proteins can be evaluated in vitro through a protease-protection assay. We report here how to prepare (proteo)liposomes and to determine the activities of membrane protein integration.
0 Q&A 3850 Views Apr 5, 2020
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a stress responsive enzyme that metabolizes heme and releases free iron, carbon monoxide (CO), and biliverdin (BV), which rapidly undergoes conversion to bilirubin (BL). Estimation of bilirubin is the basis of HO-1 assay. HO-1 activity is widely employed to determine antioxidant response of cells under different physiological stress environment. Intra-macrophage infection often acts as such a stress inducer and measurement of HO-1 activity in infected cells indicates the ability of pathogens towards modulating oxidative response of host. The present protocol describes analysis of HO-1 activity in infected macrophages by spectrophotometric method, which is much less complex and therefore advantageous over other methods like high-performance liquid chromatography, radiochemical methods and detection of CO by gas chromatography. The main steps include: (1) Preparation of macrophage microsomal fraction containing HO-1 (2) Isolation of rat liver cytosolic fraction containing biliverdin reductase and (3) Assessment of heme oxygenase-1 activity by spectrophotometric detection of bilirubin. This method provides a simple and sensitive approach to measure cellular antioxidant response under infected condition.
0 Q&A 3378 Views Apr 5, 2020
This protocol describes a simple xanthine/xanthine oxidase enzymatic equilibration method for determination of the redox potential of a flavin. As an example of the use of this method, we determine the reduction potential of the covalently bound FAD cofactor (Em = -55 mV) in the SdhA flavoprotein subunit of succinate dehydrogenase from Escherichia coli. In principle, this method can be used routinely to determine the redox potential of flavin cofactors in any simple flavoprotein from equilibrium concentrations with an appropriate reference dye of known Em without the use of sophisticated electrochemical equipment.
0 Q&A 2568 Views Apr 5, 2020
Cyclic nucleotide degrading phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes are crucial to the fine tuning of cAMP signaling responses, playing a pivotal role in regulating the temporal and spatial characteristics of discrete cAMP nanodomains and hence the activity of cAMP-effector proteins. As a consequence of orchestrating cAMP homeostasis, dysfunctional PDE activity plays a central role in disease pathogenesis. This highlights the need for developing methods that can be used to further understand PDE function and assess the effectiveness of potentially novel PDE therapeutics. Here we describe such an approach, where PDE activity is indirectly measured through the direct quantification of radioactively tagged cAMP (pmol/min-1/mg-1). This method provides a highly sensitive tool for investigating PDE functionality.
0 Q&A 2905 Views Mar 5, 2020
Superoxide dismutases (SODs) act as a primary defence against reactive oxygen species (ROS) by converting superoxide anion radicals (O2-) into molecular oxygen (O2) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Members of this enzyme family include CuZnSODs, MnSODs, FeSODs, and NiSODs, depending on the nature of the cofactor that is required for proper activity. Most eukaryotes, including yeast, possess CuZnSOD and MnSOD. This protocol aims at assessing the activity of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae MnSOD Sod2p from cellular extracts using nitroblue tetrazolium staining. This method can be used to estimate the cellular bioavailability of Mn2+ as well as to evaluate the redox state of the cell.
0 Q&A 3182 Views Jan 20, 2020
The identification of small molecules possessing inhibitory activity in vitro, against a given target kinase, is the first step in the drug discovery process. Herein, we describe a non radioactive protocol using luciferase-based ATP assay for the identification of inhibitors for the short isoform of the Trypanosoma brucei’s Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 (TbGSK-3s). TbGSK-3s represents a potential drug target as it is essential for parasite survival. Small molecules used in our study are indirubin analogues possessing substitutions in different positions in the bis-indole backbone. Presently, the standard laboratory practice for the kinase assays is the incorporation of radiolabeled phosphate from [gamma-32P]ATP as the efforts for developing non-radioactive assays (ELISA-based assays, fluorescence quenching assays, etc.) exhibit limitations such as lack in sensitivity or limitations for broad applications. This protocol can be a useful starting point for lead discovery, as it surpasses the drawbacks of radioactive kinase assays and it allows for relatively sensitive measurements of kinase inhibition for TbGSK-3s.

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