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0 Q&A 640 Views Nov 5, 2022

Reconstitution of membrane proteins into large unilamellar vesicles is an essential approach for their functional analysis under chemically defined conditions. The orientation of the protein in the liposomal membrane after reconstitution depends on many parameters, and its assessment is important prior to functional measurements. Common approaches for determining the orientation of a membrane-inserted protein are based on limited proteolytic digest, impermeable labeling reagents for specific amino acids, or membrane-impermeable quenchers for fluorescent proteins. Here, we describe a simple site-specific fluorescent assay based on self-labeling enzyme tags to determine the orientation of membrane proteins after reconstitution, exemplified on a reconstituted SNAP-tag plant H+-ATPase. This versatile method should benefit the optimization of reconstitution conditions and the analysis of many types of membrane proteins.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 2197 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 2245 Views Jul 20, 2021

Understanding the folding pathway of any protein is of utmost importance for deciphering the folding problems under adverse conditions. We can obtain important information about the folding pathway by monitoring the folding of any protein from its unfolded state. It is usually very difficult to monitor the folding process in real time as the process is generally very fast, and we need a suitable read out. In this protocol, we have solved this issue by using a protein that is non-fluorescent in its unfolded state but fluoresces in its native state after folding. The kinetics of refolding can be monitored by following the increase in fluorescence in real time. Previously, this was generally achieved by either monitoring a protein’s enzymatic activity or measuring the tryptophan fluorescence, where the signal output depends on well-described enzymatic activity or the frequency of tryptophan residues present in the proteins, respectively. Here, we describe a simple and real-time assay to monitor the refolding of sGFP, a recently described slow-folding mutant of yeGFP (yeast enhanced GFP). We unfold this protein using chemical denaturant and refold in a suitable buffer, monitoring the increase in fluorescence over time. GFP is fluorescent only when correctly folded; thus, using this technique, we can measure the true rate of protein refolding by following the increase in fluorescence over time. Therefore, sGFP can be used as an ideal model to study the in vitro protein folding process. Accordingly, the effects of different conditions and molecules on the protein folding pathway can be efficiently studied using sGFP as a model protein.

Graphical abstract:

Schematic of the steps involved in the sGFP refolding pathway. Native sGFP is unfolded by chemical denaturation using 6 M GuHCl at 25°C for 1 hour and then refolded in refolding buffer by 100-fold dilution.

0 Q&A 2558 Views Jul 5, 2021

The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress are tightly linked. The generation of ROS can be both the cause and a consequence of ER stress pathways, and an increasing number of human diseases are characterized by tissue atrophy in response to ER stress and oxidative injury. For the assessment of modulators of ER luminal ROS generation and for mechanistic studies, methods to monitor changes in ER reduction-oxidation (redox) states in a time-resolved and organelle-specific manner are needed. This has been greatly facilitated by the development of genetically encoded fluorescent probes, which can be targeted to different subcellular locations by specific amino acid extensions. One of these probes is the yellow fluorescent protein-based redox biosensor, HyPer. Here, we provide a protocol for the time-resolved monitoring of the oxidizing milieu in the ER of adherent mammalian cells using the ratiometric sensor, HyPerER, which is specifically targeted to the ER lumen.

0 Q&A 2867 Views Jul 5, 2021

Immunofluorescence is a reliable method for identifying specific proteins in neuronal and glial cell populations of the hypothalamus. Several immunofluorescence protocols are available to detect protein markers and neuropeptides in the hypothalamus; however, published methods may vary in subtle details that can potentially impact the final outcome of the procedure. Here, we provide a detailed protocol suitable for thin cryostat sections, which has been successful for specific antibodies directed against key markers of hypothalamic neurons and glial cells. We include every detail concerning brain tissue collection, processing, sectioning, and labeling with optimal dilutions of antibodies with the aim of reducing non-specific background. Our background-optimized immunostaining protocol has been routinely used in the lab and allows efficient detection of specific neuropeptides, glial cells, and markers of inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress in the hypothalamus.

0 Q&A 4371 Views May 20, 2021

The intracellular interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) dimerization assay is a technique designed to measure molecular interaction(s) with endogenous IRF5. Here, we present two methods that detect endogenous IRF5 homodimerization and interaction of endogenous IR5 with cell penetrating peptide (CPP) inhibitors. Briefly, to detect endogenous IRF5 dimers, THP-1 cells are incubated in the presence or absence of the IRF5-targeted CPP (IRF5-CPP) inhibitor for 30 min then the cells are stimulated with R848 for 1 h. Cell lysates are separated by native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and IRF5 dimers are detected by immunoblotting with IRF5 antibodies. To detect endogenous interactions between IRF5 and FITC-labeled IRF5-CPP, an in-cell fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay is used. In this assay, THP-1 cells are left untreated or treated with FITC-IRF5-CPP conjugated inhibitors for 1 h. Next, cells are fixed, permeabilized, and stained with anti-IRF5 and TRITC-conjugated secondary antibodies. Transfer of fluorescence can be measured and calculated as FRET units. These methods provide rapid and accurate assays to detect IRF5 molecular interactions.

0 Q&A 2263 Views Apr 5, 2021

Microtubules (MT) are the most rigid component of the cytoskeleton. Nevertheless, they often appear highly curved in the cellular context and the mechanisms governing their overall shape are poorly understood. Currently, in vitro microtubule analysis relies primarily on electron microscopy for its high resolution and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy for its ability to image live fluorescently-labelled microtubules and associated proteins. For three-dimensional analyses of microtubules with micrometer curvatures, we have developed an assay in which MTs are polymerized in vitro from MT seeds adhered to a glass slide in a manner similar to conventional TIRF microscopy protocols. Free fluorescent molecules are removed and the MTs are fixed by perfusion. The MTs can then be observed using a confocal microscope with an Airyscan module for higher resolution. This protocol allows the imaging of microtubules that have retained their original three-dimensional shape and is compatible with high-resolution immunofluorescence detection.

0 Q&A 2980 Views Jul 20, 2020
Members of the claudin family of tight junction proteins regulate paracellular permeability and modulate cell signaling. During junction remodeling, these proteins are selectively inserted into or retrieved from the tight junctions, but the control and coordination of these processes remain incompletely understood. Visualization of claudins allows the assessment of changes in their localization and abundance. We use the described protocol to stain claudin-2, but it can also be adapted to stain any tight junction protein. We found that using methanol for fixing allows the best preservation of claudin-2 both at the membrane and in cytoplasmic vesicles. Staining is done using a claudin-2 specific primary and a fluorescently labelled secondary antibody, along with DAPI to label nuclei. The samples are then imaged using confocal microscopy, and a z-stack is obtained allowing visualization of both junctional and intracellular claudin-2. Total claudin-2 signal can be quantified after 3D reconstruction of the images using the Imaris software.
0 Q&A 2899 Views Jul 5, 2020
MYC family members, MYC, MYCN, and MYCL, are oncogenic transcription factors that regulate the expression of genes involved in normal development, cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and survival. While MYC is amplified and/or overexpressed across a variety of tissue types, MYCN is often overexpressed in tumors of the nervous system (neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma) or with neuroendocrine features (neuroendocrine prostate cancer). Given recent reports that MYCN expression is also deregulated in a variety of non-neuronal tissue types, we investigated whether MYCN was also deregulated in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). In contrast to previous individual immuno-fluorescence (IF) stains against higher expressing MYC family isoform protein, we developed an IF stain to simultaneously detect both MYCN- and MYC-expressing cells within the same tumor cell population. Our methodology allows for the detection of low level MYCN and MYC expression and can be multiplexed with additional protein probes. Herein, using tyramide signal amplification (TSA), we present two protocols for the IF detection of MYCN and MYC on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor sections and in cell lines fixed in situ after growth as adherent cultures on chambered microscope slides.
0 Q&A 7283 Views Jul 5, 2020
Drosophila larval salivary gland polytene chromosome squashes have been used for decades to analyze genome-wide protein-binding patterns, transcriptional activation processes, and changes in chromatin structure at specific genetic loci. There have been many evolutions of the squashing protocol over the years, with sub-optimal reproducibility and low sample success rate as accepted caveats. However, low sample success rates are an obvious disadvantage when polytene chromosomes are used for more high-throughput approaches, such as genetic or antibody screens, or for experiments requiring high-quality chromosome structure preservation. Here we present an exceptionally reproducible squashing and fluorescence staining protocol, which generates high-quality fluorescence images on well-spread chromosomes. This is followed by our novel, semi-automated MATLAB analysis program used to determine correlations between fluorescence signals of interest at a single site on polytene chromosomes, in a pixel-by-pixel manner. In our case, we have used this approach to assess chromatin changes at genomic sites, ectopically targeted by nuclear pore proteins. The use of our analysis program increases the ability to make unbiased conclusions on changes in chromatin structure, or in protein recruitment to chromatin, regardless of sample variation in immunofluorescence staining. As it is simply based upon differences in fluorescence intensity at a defined location, the provided analysis program is not limited to analysis of polytene chromosome, and could be applied to many different contexts where correlation between fluorescent signals at any particular location is of interest.

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