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0 Q&A 381 Views Apr 5, 2024

Contractile injection systems (CISs), one of the most important bacterial secretion systems that transport substrates across the membrane, are a collection of diverse but evolutionarily related macromolecular devices. Numerous effector proteins can be loaded and injected by this secretion complex to their specific destinations. One group of CISs called extracellular CIS (eCIS) has been proposed as secretory molecules that can be released from the bacterial cytoplasm and attack neighboring target cells from the extracellular environment. This makes them a potential delivery vector for the transportation of various cargos without the inclusion of bacterial cells, which might elicit certain immunological responses from hosts. We have demonstrated that the Photorhabdus virulence cassette (PVC), which is a typical eCIS, could be applied as an ideal vector for the translocation of proteinaceous cargos with different physical or chemical properties. Here, we describe the in-depth purification protocol of this mega complex from Escherichia coli. The protocol provided is a simpler, faster, and more productive way of generating the eCIS complexes than available methodologies reported previously, which can facilitate the subsequent applications of these nanodevices and other eCIS in different backgrounds.

0 Q&A 512 Views Nov 5, 2023

High-throughput molecular screening of microbial colonies and DNA libraries are critical procedures that enable applications such as directed evolution, functional genomics, microbial identification, and creation of engineered microbial strains to produce high-value molecules. A promising chemical screening approach is the measurement of products directly from microbial colonies via optically guided matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). Measuring the compounds from microbial colonies bypasses liquid culture with a screen that takes approximately 5 s per sample. We describe a protocol combining a dedicated informatics pipeline and sample preparation method that can prepare up to 3,000 colonies in under 3 h. The screening protocol starts from colonies grown on Petri dishes and then transferred onto MALDI plates via imprinting. The target plate with the colonies is imaged by a flatbed scanner and the colonies are located via custom software. The target plate is coated with MALDI matrix, MALDI-MS analyzes the colony locations, and data analysis enables the determination of colonies with the desired biochemical properties. This workflow screens thousands of colonies per day without requiring additional automation. The wide chemical coverage and the high sensitivity of MALDI-MS enable diverse screening projects such as modifying enzymes and functional genomics surveys of gene activation/inhibition libraries.

Key features

• Mass spectrometry analyzes a range of compounds from E. coli colonies as a proxy for liquid culture testing enzyme mutant libraries.

• Colonies are transferred to a MALDI target plate by a simple imprinting method.

• The screen compares the ratio among several products or searches for the qualitative presence of specific compounds.

• The protocol requires a MALDI mass spectrometer.

Graphical overview

Overview of the MALDI-MS analysis of microbial colonies for screening mutant libraries. Microbial cells containing a mutant library for enzymes/metabolic pathways are first grown in agar. The colonies are then imprinted onto a MALDI target plate using a filter paper intermediate. An optical image of the MALDI target plate is analyzed by custom software to find the locations of individual colonies and direct subsequent MALDI-MS analyses to the selected colonies. After applying MALDI matrix onto the target plate, MALDI-MS analysis of the colonies is performed. Colonies showing the desired product profiles are found by data analysis via the software, and the colonies are picked for downstream analysis.

0 Q&A 1890 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 2198 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.

0 Q&A 1732 Views Jan 20, 2022

Cell lysis, a process that releases host oligonucleotides, is required in many biotechnological applications. However, intact oligonucleotides in crude cellular lysates increase the viscosity of lysates, which complicates downstream processes and routine laboratory workflows. To address this, nucleases that hydrolyze the intact oligonucleotides are commonly added, either as purified enzymes or co-expressed in genetically engineered bacterial strains. To measure oligonucleotide hydrolysis, common DNA quantification methods, such as qPCR or fluorescence-based, require expensive reagents and equipment, and cannot distinguish different-sized DNA fragments. Here, we outline a simple alternative method for measuring DNA/RNA hydrolysis in cellular lysates, by measuring their viscosity. This method only requires common laboratory supplies and a cell phone camera.

0 Q&A 3864 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 3517 Views Apr 20, 2020
Microbial production of alkanes employing synthetic biology tools has gained tremendous attention owing to the high energy density and similarity of alkanes to existing petroleum fuels. One of the most commonly studied pathways includes the production of alkanes by AAR (acyl-ACP (acyl carrier protein) reductase)-ADO (aldehyde deformylating oxygenase) pathway. Here, the intermediates of fatty acid synthesis pathway are used as substrate by the AAR enzyme to make fatty aldehyde, which is then deformylated by ADO to make linear chain alkane. However, the variation in substrate availability to the first enzyme of the pathway, i.e., AAR, via fatty acid synthesis pathway and low turnover of the ADO enzyme make calculation of yields and titers under in vivo conditions extremely difficult. In vivo assay employing external addition of defined substrates for ADO enzyme into the medium helps to monitor the influx of substrate hence providing a more accurate measurement of the product yields. In this protocol, we include a detailed guide for implementing the in vivo assay for monitoring alkane production in E. coli.
0 Q&A 4723 Views Jul 5, 2019
Human pancreatic lipase (HPL) is the main lipolytic enzyme involved in the digestion of dietary fat. An active recombinant human pancreatic lipase (recHPL) was successfully prepared for the first time in an Escherichia coli (E. coli) expression system using a short Strep-tag II (ST II). The recHPL-ST II was solubilized with 8 M urea from the E. coli lysate and purified on a Strep-Tactin-Sepharose column. After refolding by stepwise dialyses against decreasing concentrations of urea in the presence of glycerol and Ca2+ for two days followed by gel filtration FPLC, 1.8-6 mg of active recHPL-ST II was obtained from 1 L of culture. Here we report the expression, purification, and optimized refolding procedures for active recHPL from E. coli, thus establishing it as a suitable system for the production of recHPL of high purity and scaling up.
0 Q&A 8270 Views Jul 5, 2018
High-throughput screening of a DNA library expressed in a bacterial population for identifying potentially rare members displaying a property of interest is a crucial step for success in many experiments such as directed evolution of proteins and synthetic circuits and deep mutational scanning to identify gain- or loss-of-function mutants.

Here, I describe a protocol for high-throughput screening of bacterial (E. coli) microcolonies in gel beads. Single cells are encapsulated into monodisperse water-in-oil emulsion droplets produced with a microfluidic device. The aqueous solution also contains agarose that gelates upon cooling on ice, so that solid gel beads form inside the droplets. During incubation of the emulsion, the cells grow into monoclonal microcolonies inside the beads. After isolation of the gel beads from the emulsion and their sorting by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS), the bacteria are recovered from the gel beads and are then ready for a further round of sorting, mutagenesis or analysis. In order to sort by FACS, this protocol requires a fluorescent readout, such as the expression of a fluorescent reporter protein. Measuring the average fluorescent signals of microcolonies reduces the influence of high phenotypic cell-to-cell variability and increases the sensitivity compared to the sorting of single cells. We applied this method to sort a pBAD promoter library at ON and OFF states (Duarte et al., 2017).
3 Q&A 18994 Views May 5, 2018
This protocol provides step by step instructions (Figure 1) for heterologous expression of Francisella novicida Cas12a (previously known as Cpf1) in Escherichia coli. It additionally includes a protocol for high-purity purification and briefly describes how activity assays can be performed. These protocols can also be used for purification of other Cas12a homologs and the purified proteins can be used for subsequent genome editing experiments.

Figure 1. Timeline of activities for the heterologous expression and purification of Francisella novicida Cas12a (FnCas12a) from Escherichia coli

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