Molecular Biology


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0 Q&A 1350 Views Jul 5, 2022

Work in cold environments may have a significant impact on occupational health. In these and similar situations, cold exposure localized to the extremities may reduce the temperature of underlying tissues. To investigate the molecular effects of cold exposure in muscle, and since adequate methods were missing, we established two experimental cold exposure models: 1) In vitro exposure to cold (18°C) or control temperature (37°C) of cultured human skeletal muscle cells (myotubes); and 2) unilateral cold exposure of hind limb skeletal muscle in anesthetized rats (intramuscular temperature 18°C), with contralateral control (37°C). This methodology enables studies of muscle responses to local cold exposures at the level of gene expression, but also other molecular outcomes.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 1016 Views Apr 20, 2022

Biotin is an essential vitamin in plants. However, characterization of biotin deficiency has been limited by embryo lethality in mutants, which can only be rescued by supplementation of biotin. Here, we describe a protocol to characterize biotin deficiency in Arabidopsis thaliana through application of the polyamine cadaverine. Cadaverine induces changes in primary root growth. Protein biotinylation in Arabidopsis seedlings can be quantified through an assay similar to a western blot, in which protein biotinylation is detected by a streptavidin probe. This technique provides a chemical means of inhibiting biotin synthesis, allowing for further characterization of biotin deficiency on a physiological and molecular level.

0 Q&A 1786 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.

1 Q&A 2341 Views Jan 5, 2022

Mechanisms that target and destroy foreign nucleic acids are major barriers to horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in prokaryotes. Amongst them, restriction-modification (R-M) systems are found in ≥75% of the sequenced genomes in Bacteria and Archaea. Due to their high target sequence specificity and potent nucleolytic activity, R-M systems are used as a paradigm to elucidate the mechanisms of DNA binding and cleavage. Since these enzymes modulate HGT, they are one of the machineries implicated in the ability of a bacterium to gain antibiotic resistance. This protocol provides a detailed purification strategy for the Type IV restriction endonuclease SauUSI from Staphylococcus aureus. This protocol eventually leads to ≥95% purity of protein which can then be used for crystallographic and biochemical purposes.

Graphic abstract:

Workflow for purification of SauUSI.

0 Q&A 2107 Views Oct 20, 2021

Immunofluorescence is a technique to visualize the localization of specific molecule targets within cells using the specificity of antibodies. Here, we describe a protocol to detect two different protein components in a cell simultaneously. Antibody concentrations to be used vary from cell to cell and should be optimized for different cell types. In this protocol, we perform co-immunofluorescence of mitochondrial ribosomal protein L7/L12 (MRPL12) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a potential transcription factor of MRPL12, in HK-2 cells, as an example. Taking advantage of the diverse set of antibodies raised in different species, we are able to analyze the colocalization and expression of these proteins.

0 Q&A 7218 Views Apr 20, 2021

Recombinant proteins are an essential milestone for a plethora of different applications ranging from pharmaceutical to clinical, and mammalian cell lines are among the currently preferred systems to obtain large amounts of proteins of interest due to their high level of post-translational modification and manageable large-scale production. In this regard, human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells constitute one of the main standard lab-scale mammalian hosts for recombinant protein production since these cells are relatively easy to handle, scale-up, and transfect. Here, we present a detailed protocol for the cost-effective, reproducible, and scalable implementation of HEK293 cell cultures in suspension (suitable for commercially available HEK293 cells, HEK293-F) for high-quantity recombinant production of secreted soluble multi-domain proteins. In addition, the protocol is optimized for a Monday-to-Friday maintenance schedule, thus simplifying and streamlining the work of operators responsible for cell culture maintenance.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic overview of the workflow described in this protocol

0 Q&A 3070 Views Oct 5, 2020
Genetically encoded biosensors are powerful tools for quantitative visualization of ions and metabolites in vivo. Design and optimization of such biosensors typically require analyses of large numbers of variants. Sensor properties determined in vitro such as substrate specificity, affinity, response range, dynamic range, and signal-to-noise ratio are important for evaluating in vivo data. This protocol provides a robust methodology for in vitro binding assays of newly designed sensors. Here we present a detailed protocol for purification and in vitro characterization of genetically encoded sensors, exemplified for the His affinity-tagged GO-(Green-Orange) MatryoshCaMP6s calcium sensor. GO-Matryoshka sensors are based on single-step insertion of a cassette containing two nested fluorescent proteins, circularly permutated fluorescent green FP (cpGFP) and Large Stoke Shift LSSmOrange, within the binding protein of interest, producing ratiometric sensors that exploit the analyte-triggered change in fluorescence of a cpGFP.
0 Q&A 3591 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 4464 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.

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