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0 Q&A 251 Views Feb 5, 2023

Proteases control plant growth and development by limited proteolysis of regulatory proteins at highly specific sites. This includes the processing of peptide hormone precursors to release the bioactive peptides as signaling molecules. The proteases involved in this process have long remained elusive. Confirmation of a candidate protease as a peptide precursor–processing enzyme requires the demonstration of protease-mediated precursor cleavage in vitro. In vitro cleavage assays rely on the availability of suitable substrates and the candidate protease with high purity. Here, we provide a protocol for the expression, purification, and characterization of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) phytaspases as candidate proteases for the processing of the phytosulfokine precursor. We also show how synthetic oligopeptide substrates can be used to demonstrate site-specific precursor cleavage.


Graphical abstract


0 Q&A 1425 Views Jun 5, 2022

This protocol describes a method to assess relative changes in the level of global protein synthesis in the preimplantation embryo using the Click-iT® Plus OPP Protein Synthesis Assays. In this assay, O-propargyl-puromycin (OPP), an analog of puromycin, is efficiently incorporated into the nascent polypeptide of newly translated proteins in embryonic cells. OPP is fluorescently labeled with a photostable Alexa FluorTM dye and detected with fluorescence microscopy. The intensity of the fluorescence is quantitatively analyzed. This is a fast, sensitive, and non-radioactive method for the detection of protein synthesis in early embryo development. It provides a tool for analyzing the temporal regulation of protein synthesis, as well as the effects of changes in the embryonic microenvironment, and pharmacological and genetic modulations of embryo development.


Graphical abstract:



Figure 1. Brief overview of the procedures of the Click-iT® Plus OPP Alexa Fluor® protein synthesis assay in embryonic cells.

(A) Set up OPP treatments: (1) Set up microdrops containing 50 µL of OPP working solution and label different treatments on the back of culture dishes (e.g., T0, T1, T2, and T3); (2) The drops are overlain with 2–3 mm heavy paraffin oil and then equilibrated in incubator for 2 h; (3) Collect the embryos from female reproductive tracts or following in vitro culture in desired treatments; (4) Culture embryos in the equilibrated OPP working solution for 2–6 h. (B) Example of OPP detection procedures working with 60-well plates labeled as T0, T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5 for different treatments: (1) The first 60-well plate is used for the procedures of washing, fixation, permeabilization, and Click-iT® OPP detection. (2) The second 60-well plate is for DNA staining and washing. (C) Slide preparation: (1) Label the required number of slides and set up vaseline coverslip supports; (2) Add mounting medium; (3) Transfer embryos into mounting medium; (4) Set coverslip; (5) Seal the coverslip with nail polish.

0 Q&A 2493 Views Aug 20, 2021

The use of recombinant lentivirus pseudotyped with the coronavirus Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 would circumvent the requirement of biosafety-level 3 (BSL-3) containment facilities for the handling of SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Herein, we describe a fast and reliable protocol for the transient production of lentiviruses pseudotyped with SARS-CoV-2 Spike (CoV-2 S) proteins and green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporters. The virus titer is determined by the GFP reporter (fluorescent) expression with a flow cytometer. High titers (>1.00 E+06 infectious units/ml) are produced using codon-optimized CoV-2 S, harbouring the prevalent D614G mutation and lacking its ER retention signal. Enhanced and consistent cell entry is achieved by using permissive HEK293T/17 cells that were genetically engineered to stably express the SARS-CoV-2 human receptor ACE2 along with the cell surface protease TMPRSS2 required for efficient fusion. For the widespread use of this protocol, its reagents have been made publicly available.


Graphic abstract:




Production and quantification of lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein


0 Q&A 3631 Views Aug 5, 2021

Polysome profile analysis is a popular method for separating polysomes and ribosomal subunits and is typically achieved using a sucrose density gradient (SDG). This has remained the gold standard method since ribosomes were first discovered; however, this method is time-consuming and requires multiple steps from making the gradient and long ultracentrifugation to collecting and analyzing the fractions. Each of these steps in the SDG workflow can introduce potential technical variation that affects the reproducibility of gradient profiles between samples. To address these limitations, we have developed a flexible, alternative approach for analyzing polysomes and ribosomal subunits based on size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), termed ‘Ribo Mega-SEC.’ In comparison with the SDG method, Ribo Mega-SEC involves a single step using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (uHPLC). The entire workflow, from injecting the lysate to collecting the fractions, can be performed in as little as 15 min, with high reproducibility. By varying the pore size of the SEC column, polysomes and ribosomal subunits can be separated using extracts from either human or mouse cultured cell lines or from tissue samples, Drosophila embryos, or budding yeast. The resulting separated fractions are suitable for analysis using a wide range of subsequent analytical techniques including mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics, RNA-Seq, electron microscopy (EM), and multiple biochemical assays.

0 Q&A 4564 Views Aug 5, 2020
Saturation mutagenesis is a fundamental enabling technology for protein engineering and epitope mapping. Nicking mutagenesis (NM) allows the user to rapidly construct libraries of all possible single mutations in a target protein sequence from plasmid DNA in a one-pot procedure. Briefly, one strand of the plasmid DNA is degraded using a nicking restriction endonuclease and exonuclease treatment. Mutagenic primers encoding the desired mutations are annealed to the resulting circular single-stranded DNA, extended with high-fidelity polymerase, and ligated into covalently closed circular DNA by Taq DNA ligase. The heteroduplex DNA is resolved by selective degradation of the template strand. The complementary strand is synthesized and ligated, resulting in a library of mutated covalently closed circular plasmids. It was later shown that because very little primer is used in the procedure, resuspended oligo pools, which normally require amplification before use, can be used directly in the mutagenesis procedure. Because oligo pools can contain tens of thousands of unique oligos, this enables the construction of libraries of tens of thousands of user-defined mutations in a single-pot mutagenesis reaction, which significantly improves the utility of NM as described below.

Use of oligo pools afford an economically advantageous approach to mutagenic experiments. First, oligo pool synthesis is much less expensive per nucleotide synthesized than conventional synthesis. Second, a mixed pool may be generated and used for mutagenesis of multiple different genes. To use the same oligo-pool for mutagenesis of a variety of genes, the user must only quantify the fraction of the oligo-pool specific to her mutagenic experiment and adjust the volume and effective concentration of the oligo-pool for use in nicking mutagenesis.
0 Q&A 4035 Views Jul 5, 2020
Every living cell relies on signal transduction pathways comprised of protein-protein interactions (PPIs). In many cases, these PPIs are between a folded protein domain and a short linear motif (SLiM) within an unstructured region of a protein. As a result of this small interaction interface (3-10 amino acids), the affinities of SLiM-mediated interactions are typically weak (Kds of ~1-10 µM), allowing physiologically relevant changes in cellular concentrations of either protein partner to dictate changes in occupancy and thereby transmit cellular signals. However, these weak affinities also render detection and quantitative measurement of these interactions challenging and labor intensive. To address this, we recently developed MRBLE-pep, a technology that employs peptide libraries synthesized on spectrally encoded hydrogel beads to allow multiplexed affinity measurements between a protein and many different peptides in parallel. This approach dramatically reduces both the amount of protein and peptide as well as the time required to measure protein-peptide affinities compared to traditional methods. Here, we provide a detailed protocol describing how to: (1) functionalize polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEG-DA) MRBLE beads with free amine groups, (2) synthesize peptide libraries on functionalized MRBLEs, (3) validate synthesized peptide sequences via MALDI mass spectrometry and quantify evenness of peptide coverage on MRBLEs, (4) use MRBLE-bound peptide libraries in multiplexed protein binding assays, and (5) analyze binding data to determine binding affinities. We anticipate that this protocol should prove useful for other researchers seeking to use MRBLE-pep in their own laboratories as well as for researchers broadly interested in solid-phase peptide synthesis and protein-protein binding assay development.
0 Q&A 3157 Views Jun 20, 2020
Serine palmitoyltranferase (SPT) is a pyridoxal 5′ phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step of de novo synthesis of sphingolipids. SPT activity is homeostatically regulated in response to increased levels of sphingolipids. This homeostatic regulation of SPT is mediated through small ER membrane proteins termed the ORMDLs. Here we describe a procedure to assay ORMDL dependent lipid inhibition of SPT activity. The assay of SPT activity using radiolabeled L-serine was developed from the procedure established by the Hornemann laboratory. The activity of SPT can also be measured using deuterated L-serine but it requires mass spectrometry, which consumes money, time and instrumentation. The ORMDL dependent lipid inhibition of SPT activity can be studied in both cells and in a cell free system. This assay procedure is applicable to any type of mammalian cell. Here we provide the detailed protocol to measure SPT activity in the presence of either short chain (C8-ceramide) or long chain ceramide (C24-ceramide). One of the greatest advantages of this protocol is the ability to test insoluble long chain ceramides. We accomplished this by generating long chain ceramide through endogenous ceramide synthase by providing exogenous sphingosine and 24:1 acyl CoA in HeLa cell membranes. This SPT assay procedure is simple and easy to perform and does not require sophisticated instruments.
0 Q&A 4070 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 3622 Views Apr 20, 2020
The development of chemical and biological coupling technologies in recent years has made possible of protein polymers engineering. We have developed an enzymatic method for building polyproteins using a protein ligase OaAEP1 (asparagine endopeptidase 1) and protease TEV (tobacco etching virus). Using a mobile TEV protease site compatible with the OaAEP1 ligation, we achieved a stepwise polymerization of the protein on the surface. The produced polyprotein can be verified by protein unfolding scenario using atomic force microscopy-based single-molecule force spectroscopy (AFM-SMFS). Thus, this study provides an alternative method for polyprotein engineering and immobilization.
1 Q&A 14441 Views Aug 20, 2017
The protocol outlined represents a cost-effective, rapid and reliable method for the generation of high-titre viral pseudotype particles with the wild-type SARS-CoV spike protein on a lentiviral vector core using the widely available transfection reagent PEI. This protocol is optimized for transfection in 6-well plates; however it can be readily scaled to different production volumes according to application. This protocol has multiple benefits including the use of readily available reagents, consistent, high pseudotype virus production Relative Luminescence Units (RLU) titres and rapid generation of novel coronavirus pseudotypes for research into strain variation, tropism and immunogenicity/sero-prevalence.



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