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0 Q&A 327 Views Mar 20, 2023

Co-immunoprecipitation or pull-down assays are frequently used to analyze protein–protein interactions. In these experiments, western blotting is commonly used to detect prey proteins. However, sensitivity and quantification problems remain in this detection system. Recently, the HiBiT-tag-dependent NanoLuc luciferase system was developed as a highly sensitive detection system for small amounts of proteins. In this report, we introduce the method of using HiBiT technology for the detection of prey protein in a pull-down assay. Using this protocol, we demonstrate the formation of a ternary complex consisting of Japanese encephalitis virus NS4B and two host factors, namely valosin-containing protein, and nuclear protein localization protein 4, which is a critical biological event during flavivirus replication in cells.

0 Q&A 1027 Views Sep 5, 2022

Protein-protein interactions and protein modifications play central roles in all living organisms. Of the more than 200 types of post-translational modifications, ubiquitylation is the most abundant, and it profoundly regulates the functionality of the eukaryotic proteome. Various in vitro and in vivo methodologies to study protein interactions and modifications have been developed, each presenting distinctive benefits and caveats. Here, we present a comprehensive protocol for applying a split-Chloramphenicol Acetyl-Transferase (split-CAT) based system, to study protein-protein interactions and ubiquitylation in E. coli. Functional assembly of bait and prey proteins tethered to the split-CAT fragments result in antibiotic resistance and growth on selective media. We demonstrate assays for protein interactions, protein ubiquitylation, and the system response to small compound modulators. To facilitate data collection, we provide an updated Scanner Acquisition Manager Program for Laboratory Experiments (SAMPLE; that can be employed to monitor the growth of various microorganisms, including E. coli and S. cerevisiae. The advantage posed by this system lies in its sensitivity to a wide range of chloramphenicol concentrations, which allows the detection of a large spectrum of protein-protein interactions, without the need for their purification. The tight linkage between binding or ubiquitylation and growth enables the estimation of apparent relative affinity, and represents the system’s quantitative characteristics.

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0 Q&A 2411 Views Aug 5, 2022

Detecting protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is one of the most used approaches to reveal the molecular regulation of protein of interests (POIs). Immunoprecipitation of POIs followed by mass spectrometry or western blot analysis enables us to detect co-precipitated POI-binding proteins. However, some binding proteins are lost during cell lysis or immunoprecipitation if the protein binding affinity is weak. Crosslinking POI and its binding proteins stabilizes the PPI and increases the chance of detecting the interacting proteins. Here, we introduce the method of DSP (dithiobis(succinimidyl propionate))-mediated crosslinking, followed by tandem immunoprecipitation (FLAG and HA tags). The eluted proteins interacting with POI can be analyzed by mass spectrometry or western blotting. This method has the potential to be applied to various cytoplasmic proteins.

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0 Q&A 1638 Views Jul 20, 2022

Epigenetic modifications play diverse roles in biological systems. Nucleic acid modifications control gene expression, protein synthesis, and sensitivity to nucleic acid-cleaving enzymes. However, the mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of nucleic acid modifications can be challenging to identify. Studying protein-ligand interactions helps decipher biosynthetic and regulatory pathways underlying biological reactions. Here, we describe a fluorescence labeling-based quantitative method for unraveling the biomolecular interactions of bacteriophage Mu DNA modification protein Mom with its ligands, using microscale thermophoresis (MST). Compared to traditional methods for studying protein-biomolecular interactions, MST requires significantly lower sample amounts, volumes, and analysis time, thus allowing screening of a large number of candidates for interaction with a protein of interest. Another distinguishing feature of the method is that it obviates the need for protein purification, often a time- and resource-consuming step, and works well with whole or partially purified cell extracts. Importantly, the method is sensitive over a broad range of molecular affinities while offering great specificity and can be used to interrogate ligands ranging from metal ions to macromolecules. Although we established this method for a DNA modification protein, it can easily be adapted to study a variety of molecular interactions engaged by proteins.

0 Q&A 1469 Views May 20, 2022

Protein–lipid interactions play important roles in many biological processes, including metabolism, signaling, and transport; however, computational and structural analyses often fail to predict such interactions, and determining which lipids participate in these interactions remains challenging. In vitro assays to assess the physical interaction between a protein of interest and a panel of phospholipids provide crucial information for predicting the functionality of these interactions in vivo. In this protocol, which we developed in the context of evaluating protein–lipid binding of the Arabidopsis thaliana florigen FLOWERING LOCUS T, we describe four independent in vitro experiments to determine the interaction of a protein with phospholipids: lipid–protein overlay assays, liposome binding assays, biotin-phospholipid pull-down assays, and fluorescence polarization assays. These complementary assays allow the researcher to test whether the protein of interest interacts with lipids in the test panel, identify the relevant lipids, and assess the strength of the interaction.

1 Q&A 1438 Views Apr 5, 2022

The precise regulation of the homeostasis of the cellular proteome is critical for the appropriate growth and development of plants. It also allows the plants to respond to various environmental stresses, by modulating their biochemical and physiological aspects in a timely manner. Ubiquitination of cellular proteins is one of the major protein degradation routes for maintaining cellular protein homeostasis, and ubiquitin E3 ligases, components of ubiquitin ligase complexes, play an important role in the selective degradation of target proteins via substrate-specific interactions. Thus, understanding the role of E3 ligases and their substrate regulation uncovers their specific cellular and physiological functions. Here, we provide protocols for auto- and substrate-ubiquitination analyses that utilize the combination of in vitro purified E3 ubiquitin ligase proteins and immunoprecipitation.

0 Q&A 1644 Views Feb 20, 2022
Malaria remains a major public health issue, infecting nearly 220 million people every year. The spread of drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum around the world threatens the progress made against this disease. Therefore, identifying druggable and essential pathways in P. falciparum parasites remains a major area of research. One poorly understood area of parasite biology is the formation of disulfide bonds, which is an essential requirement for the folding of numerous proteins. Specialized chaperones with thioredoxin (Trx) domains catalyze the redox functions necessary for breaking incorrect and forming correct disulfide bonds in proteins. Defining the substrates of these redox chaperones is difficult and immunoprecipitation based assays cannot distinguish between substrates and interacting partners. Further, the substrate or client interactions with the redox chaperones are usually transient in nature. Activity based crosslinkers that rely on the nucleophilic cysteines on Trx domains and the disulfide bond forming cysteines on clients provide an easily scalable method to trap and identify the substrates of Trx-domain containing chaperones. The cell permeable crosslinker divinyl sulfone (DVSF) is active only in the presence of nucleophilic cysteines in proteins and, therefore, traps Trx domains with their substrates, as they form mixed disulfide bonds during the course of their catalytic activity. This allows the identification of substrates that rely on Trx activity for their folding, as well as discovering small molecules that interfere with Trx domain activity.

Graphic abstract:

Identification of thioredoxin domain substrates via divinylsulfone crosslinking and immunoprecipitation-mass spectrometry.
0 Q&A 2184 Views Feb 5, 2022

Probing the molecular interactions of viral-host protein complexes to understand pathogenicity is essential in modern virology to help the development of antiviral therapies. Common binding assays, such as co-immunoprecipitation or pull-downs, are helpful in investigating intricate viral-host proteins interactions. However, such assays may miss low-affinity and favour non-specific interactions. We have recently incorporated photoreactive amino acids at defined residues of a viral protein in vivo, by introducing amber stop codons (TAG) and using a suppressor tRNA. This is followed by UV-crosslinking, to identify interacting host proteins in live mammalian cells. The affinity-purified photo-crosslinked viral-host protein complexes are further characterized by mass spectrometry following extremely stringent washes. This combinatorial site-specific incorporation of a photoreactive amino acid and affinity purification-mass spectrometry strategy allows the definition of viral-host protein contacts at single residue resolution and greatly reduces non-specific interactors, to facilitate characterization of viral-host protein interactions.

Graphic abstract:

Schematic overview of the virus-host interaction assay based on an amber suppression approach.

Mammalian cells grown in Bpa-supplemented medium are co-transfected with plasmids encoding viral sequences carrying a Flag tag, a (TAG) stop codon at the desired position, and an amber suppressor tRNA (tRNACUA)/aminoacyl tRNA synthetase (aaRS) orthogonal pair. Cells are then exposed to UV, to generate protein-protein crosslinks, followed by immunoprecipitation with anti-Flag magnetic beads. The affinity-purified crosslinks are probed by western blot using an anti-Flag antibody and the crosslinked host proteins are characterised by mass spectrometry.

0 Q&A 3106 Views Dec 20, 2021

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large family of membrane-embedded receptors that have diverse roles in physiology and are major drug targets. GPCRs transduce an agonist binding signal across the membrane to activate intracellular heterotrimeric G proteins. The dynamic nature of the receptors and the complexity of their interactions with agonists and G proteins present significant challenges for biochemical studies. Most biochemical/biophysical methods that have been employed to study GPCR-G protein coupling require purified receptors and are technically difficult. Here, we provide a protocol for a relatively simple and time- and cost-effective membrane protein native PAGE assay, to visualize and biochemically characterize agonist-dependent coupling of detergent-solubilized GPCRs to purified G protein surrogate “mini-G” proteins, which stabilize the receptor in an active state. The assay was developed for our studies of the calcitonin receptor-like receptor, a class B GPCR that mediates the actions of calcitonin gene-related peptide and adrenomedullin peptide agonists. It does not require a purified receptor and it can be used in a screening format with transiently-transfected adherent mammalian cell cultures, to quickly identify detergent-stable complexes amenable to study, or in a quantitative format with membrane preparations, to determine apparent affinities of agonists for the mini-G-coupled receptor and apparent affinities of mini-G proteins for the agonist-occupied receptor. The latter provides a partial measure of agonist efficacy. The method should be applicable to other GPCRs, and has the potential to be adapted to the study of other challenging membrane proteins and their complexes with binding partners.

Graphic abstract:

Visualizing agonist-dependent mini-G protein coupling and determining apparent binding affinities using the native PAGE assay quantitative formats.

0 Q&A 1870 Views Dec 20, 2021

The functional performance of a cell depends on how macromolecules, in particular proteins, come together in a precise orientation, how they assemble into protein complexes and interact with each other. In order to study protein-protein interactions at a molecular level, a variety of methods to investigate these binding processes yield affinity constants and/or the identification of binding regions. There are several well-established biophysical techniques for biomolecular interaction studies, such as fluorescence spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. Although these techniques have been proven to be efficient, they either need labeling or immobilization of one interaction partner. Backscattering interferometry (BSI) is a label-free detection method, which allows label- and immobilization-free interaction analysis under physiologically relevant conditions with high sensitivity and in small volumes. We used BSI to measure the interaction of the neuronal calcium sensor recoverin with its target G protein-coupled receptor kinase 1 (GRK1) as a model system. Increasing concentrations of purified recoverin were mixed with a specific concentration of a GRK1 fusion protein. In this protocol, we provide a full description of the instrumental setup, data acquisition, and evaluation. Equilibrium dissociation constants of recoverin-GRK1 interaction determined by the BSI instrumental setup are in full agreement with affinity constants obtained by different methods as described in the literature.

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