Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 1307 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 7095 Views Nov 20, 2017
The aim of this protocol is to generate COPII-coated procollagen I (PC1) carriers in a cell-free reaction. The COPII-coated PC1 carriers were reconstituted from donor membrane, cytosol, purified recombinant COPII proteins, and nucleotides. This protocol describes the preparation of donor membrane and cytosol, the assembly of the reaction, and the isolation and detection of reconstituted COPII-coated carriers. This cell-free reaction can be used to test conditions that stimulate or suppress the packaging of PC1 into COPII-coated carriers.
0 Q&A 8285 Views Aug 5, 2017
Proteins that bind to and disrupt cell membranes may target specific phospholipids. Here we describe a protocol to identify the lipid targets of proteins and biomolecules. First, we describe a screen to identify lipids in membranes that are specifically bound by the biomolecule of interest. Second, we describe a method for determining if the presence of these lipids within membranes is necessary for membrane disruption. The methods described here were used to determine that the malaria vaccine candidate CelTOS disrupts cell membranes by specifically targeting phosphatidic acid (Jimah et al., 2016). This protocol has a companion protocol: ‘Liposome disruption assay to examine lytic properties of biomolecules’ which can be applied to examine the ability of the biomolecule to disrupt membranes composed of the lipid target identified by following this protocol (Jimah et al., 2017).
0 Q&A 9457 Views May 5, 2017
A mitochondrion is a dynamic intracellular organelle that actively divides and fuses to control its size, number and shape in cells. A regulated balance between mitochondrial division and fusion is fundamental to the function, distribution and turnover of mitochondria (Roy et al., 2015). Mitochondrial division is mediated by dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a mechano-chemical GTPase that constricts mitochondrial membranes (Tamura et al., 2011). Mitochondrial membrane lipids such as phosphatidic acid and cardiolipin bind Drp1, and Drp1-phospholipid interactions provide key regulatory mechanisms for mitochondrial division (Montessuit et al., 2010; Bustillo-Zabalbeitia et al., 2014; Macdonald et al., 2014; Stepanyants et al., 2015; Adachi et al., 2016). Here, we describe biochemical experiments that quantitatively measure interactions of Drp1 with lipids using purified recombinant Drp1 and synthetic liposomes with a defined set of phospholipids. This assay makes it possible to define the specificity of protein-lipid interaction and the role of the head group and acyl chains.
0 Q&A 17574 Views Mar 5, 2017
Phosphoinositides are rare membrane lipids involved in the control of the major cellular functions and signaling pathways. They are able to recruit specific effector proteins to the cytosolic face of plasma membrane and organelles to coordinate a vast variety of signaling and trafficking processes, as well to maintain specific identity of the different subcellular compartments (Di Paolo and De Camilli, 2006; Lemmon, 2003). Therefore, analysis of these effectors’ binding properties and specificity towards different phosphoinositides is crucial for the understanding of their cellular functions. This protocol describes a method to characterize the binding of proteins to different phosphoinositide-containing vesicles.
0 Q&A 6908 Views Jan 5, 2017
Examining the interaction of peptides with lipid bilayers to determine binding kinetics is often performed using surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Here we describe the technique of dual polarisation interferometry (DPI) that provides not only information on the kinetics of the peptide binding to the bilayer, but also how the peptide affects the lipid order of the bilayer.
0 Q&A 7009 Views Nov 20, 2016
Several membrane-perturbing agents extract lipids from membranes and, in some cases, this lipid efflux is lipid specific. In order to gain a better description of this phenomenon and to detail the intermolecular interactions that are involved, a method has been developed to characterize the extent and the specificity of membrane-lipid extraction by perturbing agents. A perturbing agent is incubated with model membranes existing as multilamellar vesicles (MLVs) and subsequently, the remaining MLVs and the small lipid/perturbing agent complexes resulting from the extraction are isolated and analysed to assess the extent and the specificity of the lipid extraction.
0 Q&A 9275 Views Feb 5, 2016
Lipid-Protein interaction assay is a method to search lipids, which are bound with proteins in vitro. Since membranes that are spotted with chloroplast lipids such as monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG), digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG), and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG) are not commercially available, we extracted these lipids from cyanobacterial cells and spotted them onto membranes. The prepared membranes could be used for lipid-protein interaction assay.
0 Q&A 7637 Views Apr 20, 2015
Here, we provide a detailed protocol describing a SDS-PAGE based procedure to assay in gel neutral lipase activity. Total protein extracts are separated by SDS-PAGE and gels are treated with lipase substrate-α-naphthyl palmitate. This long-chain fatty acid ester is hydrolysed by lipases present in the gel. The product resulting from this reaction can be then visualized in the gel as yellow-brownish activity bands. This relatively simple and effective method of lipase assay detection can be used for crude protein extracts from different plant tissues.
1 Q&A 13702 Views Nov 20, 2014
Lipopolysaccharide is the major constituent of the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria and, once released from the bacterial surface into the bloodstream, is a potent activator of the host immune system, which can lead to septic shock. LPS has a hydrophilic region consisting of a repeating oligosaccharide that is strain-specific (O-antigen) and a core polysaccharide, which is covalently linked to a hydrophobic lipid moiety (lipid A). Lipid A is the most conserved part and is responsible for the toxicity of LPS. Therefore, finding molecules able to bind to this region and neutralize LPS toxicity is of relevant interest as it may provide new therapies to prevent septic shock (Chen et al., 2006). Several proteins and peptides were reported to bind LPS and alter its toxicity towards reduction and even enhancement (Brandenburg et al., 1998), such as serum albumin (Ohno and Morrison, 1989), lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP) (de Haas et al., 1999), casein (López-Expósito et al., 2008), lysozyme, the antibiotic polymyxin B and antimicrobial peptides (Chen et al., 2006). Although some of these proteins are neutral and even anionic/acidic (pI<7) (Jang et al., 2009), due to the amphipathic structure of LPS and the presence of negatively charged phosphate groups on the lipid A, the most important factors that are considered for optimal binding to LPS are a cationic/basic (pI>7) and amphipathic nature (Chen et al., 2006).

Here we describe a competitive ELISA that can be used to identify proteins or peptides that bind LPS, as a first approach before analyzing the possible activity in vitro and in vivo. In this ELISA, serial dilutions of the protein or peptide to be tested are preincubated with a fixed concentration of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled LPS from Escherichia coli serotype O111:B4 and then added to wells of a microtitre plate which are blocked with a casein hydrolysate that binds LPS (Martínez-Sernández et al., 2014). Binding of the protein to LPS displaces LPS from binding to the casein, which is revealed using a horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-labeled anti-FITC polyclonal conjugate. This method allows simultaneous analysis of several proteins or peptides in a short period of time and no recognizing molecules (e.g., antibodies) to a specific protein or peptide are needed.

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