Molecular Biology


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0 Q&A 1647 Views Dec 5, 2021

Regulation of microtubule stability is crucial for diverse biological processes, including cell division, morphogenesis, and signaling. Various in vitro assays for microtubule stability have been developed to identify and characterize proteins involved in controlling microtubule stability. Here, we introduce a simple ex-vivo assay for identifying potential microtubule regulators in the wing imaginal disc of Drosophila melanogaster. This assay utilizes silicon rhodamine-tubulin (SiR-Tub) as a cell-permeable fluorogenic dye for labeling microtubules. In an attempt to increase the sensitivity of the screen, we designed an assay using a sensitized microtubule condition. Wing discs are treated with SiR-Tub followed by demecolcine, a microtubule inhibitor, to partially label impaired microtubules. Under this sensitized condition, we can test whether overexpression or downregulation of a gene can enhance or suppress the weakened SiR-Tub labeling. This assay allows highly sensitive detection of microtubules in developing larval tissues. Hence, it provides a useful tool for identifying new microtubule regulators in both unfixed and fixed imaginal discs in Drosophila. This strategy may also be applied to characterize microtubule regulators in tissues from other model organisms.

Graphic abstract:

Graphical summary of Ex-vivo microtubule stability assay using Drosophila wing disc.

0 Q&A 1869 Views Aug 20, 2021

The Sec translocon, consisting of a heterotrimeric transmembrane channel (SecYEG) and an associated ATPase (SecA), catalyzes the export of unfolded proteins from the cytosol in bacteria. Kinetically resolving protein translocation at high resolution yields mechanistic insight into the process. Translocation is typically followed by measuring the protection of proteins transported into lipid vesicles, which only allows visualization of translocation after it has already been completed and limits time resolution. Here, we describe the implementation of an assay for measuring translocation in real-time. By priming the reconstituted translocon with suitably engineered substrate proteins, the kinetics of the actual translocation process can be resolved at high resolution. To analyze translocation kinetics, we developed a detailed kinetic model of the process that includes on-pathway and off-pathway processes. Together, this experimental protocol and model permit detailed mechanistic analyses of Sec-dependent protein translocation.

Graphic abstract:

Synchronized real-time measurements, combined with a detailed kinetic model, enable a mechanistic analysis of protein transport.

0 Q&A 3118 Views Mar 20, 2020
Nucleotide-sugar transporters (NSTs) facilitate eukaryotic cellular glycosylation by transporting nucleotide-sugar conjugates into the Golgi lumen and endoplasmic reticulum for use by glycosyltransferases, while also transferring nucleotide monophosphate byproducts to the cytoplasm. Mutations in this family of proteins can cause a number of significant cellular pathologies, and wild type members can act as virulence factors for many parasites and fungi. Here, we describe an in vitro assay to measure the transport activity of the CMP-sialic acid transporter (CST), one of seven NSTs found in mammals. While in vitro transport assays have been previously described for CST, these studies failed to account for the fact that 1) commercially available stocks of CMP-sialic acid (CMP-Sia) are composed of ~10% of the higher-affinity CMP and 2) CMP-Sia is hydrolyzed into CMP and sialic acid in aqueous solutions. Herein we describe a method for treating CMP-Sia with a nonselective phosphatase, Antarctic phosphatase, to convert all free CMP to cytidine. This allows us to accurately measure substrate affinities and transport kinetics for purified CST reconstituted into proteoliposomes.
2 Q&A 7774 Views Oct 5, 2019
Cardiac, neuronal and renal tubular epithelial cells are the most metabolically active cells in the body. Their fate depends largely on their mitochondria as the primary energy generating system which participates in the control of apoptosis, cell cycle and metabolism. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of many chronic diseases including diabetic nephropathy. A drop in mitochondrial bioenergetics efficiency is often associated with altered expression of respiratory chain complexes. Moreover, recent studies demonstrate that cellular proteins can shuttle to mitochondria and modify their function directly. Here we illustrate two mitochondria isolation protocols; one is recommended if the purity of the mitochondrial fraction is a priority such as if the mitochondrial localization of a protein has to be validated, the other if a high yield of intact functional mitochondria is required for functional studies and quantitative Western blotting. Next, we provide a detailed protocol for Western blotting of isolated mitochondria and renal cortex either to prove the purity of isolated fractions or to quantify complexes of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. We used this approach to identify classically cell membrane bound angiotensin II receptors in mitochondria and to study the effect of these receptors on mitochondrial function in early stages of diabetic nephropathy.
0 Q&A 5968 Views Dec 20, 2018
Cell-to-cell movement of proteins through plasmodesmata is a widely-established mechanism for intercellular signaling in plants. Current techniques to study intercellular protein translocation rely on single-cell transformation using particle bombardment or transgenic lines expressing photo-inducible fluorophores. The method presented here allows visualization and objective quantification of (effector) protein movement between N. benthamiana leaf cells. Agroinfiltration is performed using a single binary vector encoding a GFP-tagged protein of interest that is either mobile or non-mobile (MP; non-MP), together with an ER-anchored mCherry. Upon creation of mosaic-like transformation patterns, cell-to-cell movement of the MP can be followed by monitoring translocation of the GFP signal from mCherry labeled transformed cells into neighboring non-transformed cells. This process can be visualized using confocal microscopy and quantified following protoplast isolation and flow cytometric cell analysis. This method overcomes the limitations of existing methods as it allows rapid and objective quantification of protein translocation without the need of creating transgenic plants.

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