Biochemistry


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 257 Views Dec 5, 2022

Immunoglobulins are proteins produced by the immune system, which bind specifically to the antigen that induced their formation and target it for destruction. Highly purified human immunoglobulins are commonly used in research laboratories for several applications, such as in vitro to obtain hybridomas and in vivo animal immunisation. Several affinity purification methods are used to purify immunoglobulins from human serum, such as protein A/G Sepharose beads, polyethylene glycol, and caprylic acid ammonium sulphate precipitation. Here, we provide a detailed protocol for purification of high-quality IgG from human serum, using affinity chromatography with protein G. The protocol is divided into four main steps (column preparation, serum running, wash, and elution) for IgG purification, and two extra steps (protein dialysis and sucrose concentration) that should be performed when buffer exchange and protein concentration are required. Several IgG affinity purification methods using protein A or G are available in the literature, but protein A has a higher affinity for rabbit, pig, dog, and cat IgG, while protein G has a higher affinity for mouse and human IgG. This affinity-based purification protocol uses protein G for a highly specific purification of human IgG for animal immunization, and it is particularly useful to purify large amounts of human IgG.


Graphical abstract




IgG purification protocol.
The IgG purification protocol consists of four main steps (column preparation, serum running, wash, and elution) and two extra steps (protein dialysis and concentration). a. Diluted serum is added to the protein G beads and IgG binds to the Fc receptors on protein G beads. b. Beads are washed in Hartman’s solution to fully remove the complex protein mixture (multicolour shapes, as depicted in the graphical abstract). c. IgG (orange triangles, as depicted in the graphical abstract) are removed from protein G with glycine and collected in Tris buffer. d. The IgG is transferred into a semi-permeable membrane (‘snake skin’) and allowed to dialyse overnight for buffer exchange with a physiological solution (Hartmann’s).


0 Q&A 953 Views Oct 20, 2022

The ribosome is a complex cellular machinery whose solved structure allowed for an incredible leap in structural biology research. Different ions bind to the ribosome, stabilizing inter-subunit interfaces and structurally linking rRNAs, proteins, and ligands. Besides cations such as K+ and Mg2+, polyamines are known to stabilize the folding of RNA and overall structure. The bacterial ribosome is composed of a small (30S) subunit containing the decoding center and a large (50S) subunit devoted to peptide bond formation. We have previously shown that the small ribosomal subunit of Staphylococcus aureus is sensitive to changes in ionic conditions and polyamines concentration. In particular, its decoding center, where mRNA codons and tRNA anticodons interact, is prone to structural deformations in the absence of spermidine. Here, we report a detailed protocol for the purification of the intact and functional 30S, achieved through specific ionic conditions and the addition of spermidine. Using this protocol, we obtained the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the 30S–mRNA complex from S. aureus at 3.6 Å resolution. The 30S–mRNA complex formation was verified by a toeprinting assay. In this article, we also include a description of toeprinting and cryo-EM protocols. The described protocols can be further used to study the process of translation regulation.


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0 Q&A 1113 Views Oct 5, 2022

A number of molecules, such as secreted peptides, have been shown to mediate root-to-shoot signaling in response to various conditions. The xylem is a pathway for water and molecules that are translocated from roots to shoots. Therefore, collecting and analyzing xylem exudates is an efficient approach to study root-to-shoot long-distance signaling. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for the collection of xylem exudate from the model plant Arabidopsis and the crop plant soybean (Glycine max). In this protocol, we can collect xylem exudate from plants cultured under normal growth conditions without using special equipment.


Graphical abstract:



Xylem exudates on the cut surfaces of an Arabidopsis hypocotyl and a soybean internode.


0 Q&A 610 Views Sep 5, 2022

Nucleic acids in living organisms are more complex than the simple combinations of the four canonical nucleotides. Recent advances in biomedical research have led to the discovery of numerous naturally occurring nucleotide modifications and enzymes responsible for the synthesis of such modifications. In turn, these enzymes can be leveraged towards toolkits for DNA and RNA manipulation for epigenetic sequencing or other biotechnological applications. Here, we present the protocol to obtain purified 5-hydroxymethylcytosine carbamoyltransferase enzymes and the associated assays to convert 5-hydroxymethylcytosine to 5-carbamoyloxymethylcytosine in vitro. We include detailed assays using DNA, RNA, and single nucleotide/deoxynucleotide as substrates. These assays can be combined with downstream applications for genetic/epigenetic regulatory mechanism studies and next-generation sequencing purposes.

0 Q&A 1401 Views Aug 20, 2022

RNA granules are conserved, non-membranous, biphasic structures predominantly composed of RNA and RNA-binding proteins. RNA granules often assemble as a result of cellular responses to a variety of stresses, including infection. Two types of RNA granules are best characterized: stress granules (SGs) and processing bodies (P-bodies). The mechanism of RNA granule assembly and disassembly is still understudied because of its complex composition and dynamic behavior. The assembly of RNA granules is driven by a process known as phase separation of granule components. Edc3 is a conserved decapping activator and an essential P-body component in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Phase separation of P-body proteins has been poorly explored. This protocol will enable the visualization of the phase transition behavior of Edc3, since it is tagged to mCherry. It further describes using small molecules and other proteins to study P-body dynamics. In addition to the assembly of Edc3, this assay also lays the foundation to study disassembly of phase-separated assemblies in vitro, which was not explored earlier. We have devised the assay to describe the use of one such protein that acts as a disassembly factor. Overall, this protocol is simple to perform and can potentially be combined with analyzing these assemblies using other approaches.

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0 Q&A 582 Views Aug 5, 2022

Protein aggregation remains a major challenge in the purification of recombinant proteins in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic expression systems. One such protein is the nucleocapsid protein of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), which has high aggregation tendency and rapidly precipitates upon purification by NiNTA chromatography. Using the detergent gradient purification approach reported here, the freshly purified protein by NiNTA chromatography was mixed with the dilution buffer containing a high detergent concentration, followed by overnight freezing at -80 °C. Thawing the resulting mixture at room temperature triggered the formation of a detergent concentration gradient containing the active protein in the low detergent concentration zone towards the top of the gradient. The inactive aggregates migrated to the high detergent concentration zone towards the bottom of the gradient. The method prevented further aggregation and retained the activity of the native protein despite numerous freeze–thaw cycles. This simple approach creates an appropriate microenvironment towards the top of the gradient for correctly folded proteins, and it prevents aggregation by rapidly separating the preformed early aggregates from the correctly folded protein in the mixture. This unique approach will be of potential importance for the biotechnological industry, as well as other fields of protein biochemistry that routinely purify recombinant proteins and face the challenges of protein aggregation.


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0 Q&A 2339 Views May 20, 2022

Genome editing by the delivery of pre-assembled Cas9 ribonucleoproteins (Cas9 RNP) is an increasingly popular approach for cell types that are difficult to manipulate genetically by the conventional plasmid and viral methods. Cas9 RNP editing is robust, precise, capable of multiplexing, and free of genetic materials. Its transient presence in cells limits residual editing activity. This protocol describes the preparation of recombinant Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (SpCas9) protein by heterologous expression and purification from Escherichia coli, and the synthesis of CRISPR guide RNA by in vitro transcription and PAGE purification. SpCas9 is the first CRISPR Cas9 discovered (Jinek et al., 2012) and is also one of the most characterized Cas enzymes for genome editing applications. Using this formulation of Cas9 RNP, we have demonstrated highly efficient genome editing in primary human T and natural killer (NK) cells by electroporation, and in fungi and plants by polyethylene glycol-mediated transformation. Our protocol of Cas9 RNP preparation is consistent and straightforward to adopt for genome editing in other cell types and organisms.


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0 Q&A 1102 Views May 20, 2022

Microbiologists are learning to appreciate the importance of “functional amyloids” that are produced by numerous bacterial species and have impacts beyond the microbial world. These structures are used by bacteria to link together, presumably to increase survival, protect against harsh conditions, and perhaps to influence cell-cell communication. Bacterial functional amyloids are also beginning to be appreciated in the context of host-pathogen interactions, where there is evidence that they can trigger the innate immune system and are recognized as non-self-molecular patterns. The characteristic three-dimensional fold of amyloids renders them similar across the bacterial kingdom and into the eukaryotic world, where amyloid proteins can be undesirable and have pathological consequences. The bacterial protein curli, produced by pathogenic Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli strains, was one of the first functional amyloids discovered. Curli have since been well characterized in terms of function, and we are just starting to scratch the surface about their potential impact on eukaryotic hosts. In this manuscript, we present step-by-step protocols with pictures showing how to purify these bacterial surface structures. We have described the purification process from S. enterica, acknowledging that the same method can be applied to E. coli. In addition, we describe methods for detection of curli within animal tissues (i.e., GI tract) and discuss purifying curli intermediates in a S. enterica msbB mutant strain as they are more cytotoxic than mature curli fibrils. Some of these methods were first described elsewhere, but we wanted to assemble them together in more detail to make it easier for researchers who want to purify curli for use in biological experiments. Our aim is to provide methods that are useful for specialists and non-specialists as bacterial amyloids become of increasing importance.

0 Q&A 1387 Views May 5, 2022

Based on previous in-depth characterisation, aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) are a diverse superfamily of enzymes, in terms of both structure and function, present in all kingdoms of life. They catalyse the oxidation of an aldehyde to carboxylic acid using the cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (phosphate) (NAD(P)+), and are often not substrate-specific, but rather have a broad range of associated biological functions, including detoxification and biosynthesis. We studied the structure of ALDHTt from Thermus thermophilus, as well as performed its biochemical characterisation. This allowed for insight into its potential substrates and biological roles.


In this protocol, we describe ALDHTt heterologous expression in E. coli, purification, and activity assay (based on Shortall et al., 2021). ALDHTt was first copurified as a contaminant during caa3-type cytochrome oxidase isolation from T. thermophilus. This recombinant production system was employed for structural and biochemical analysis of wild-type and mutants, and proved efficient, yielding approximately 15–20 mg/L ALDHTt. For purification of the thermophilic his-tagged ALDHTt, heat treatment, immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC), and gel filtration chromatography were used. The enzyme activity assay was performed via UV-Vis spectrophotometry, monitoring the production of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH).



Graphical abstract:



Flow chart outlining the steps in ALDHTt expression and purification, highlighting the approximate time required for each step.

0 Q&A 1644 Views Apr 20, 2022

The protein expression and purification process is an essential initial step for biochemical analysis of a protein of interest. Traditionally, heterologous protein expression systems (such as E. coli, yeast, insect cells, and cell-free) are employed for plant protein expression, although a plant expression system is often desirable for plant proteins, to ensure proper post-translational modifications. Here, we describe a method to express and purify the ectodomain of one of the leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase called CARD1/HPCA1, from Nicotiana benthamiana apoplastic fluid. First, we express His-tagged CARD1 ectodomain in the apoplastic space of N. benthamiana by the Agroinfiltration method. Then, we collect apoplastic fluids from the leaves and purify the His-tagged protein by Ni2+-affinity chromatography. In addition to plant-specific post-translational modifications, protein accumulated in the plant apoplastic space, rather than in the cytosolic space, should be kept under an oxidizing environment. Such an environment will help to maintain the property of intrinsic disulfide bonds in the protein of interest. Further, purification from the apoplastic fluids, rather than the total protein extract, will significantly reduce contaminants (for instance RuBisCO) during protein extraction, and simplify downstream processes. We envisage that our system will be useful for expressing various plant proteins, particularly the apoplastic or extracellular regions of membrane proteins.




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