Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 1483 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 1608 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 1792 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 3596 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 3455 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 4416 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 7990 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 18188 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
0 Q&A 8086 Views Apr 5, 2016
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) catalyzing the removal of acetyl groups from lysine residues of histone and non-histone proteins play vital roles in regulation of gene transcription. In plants, HDACs can be grouped into three families, including RPD3-type, SIR2-type and plant specific HD2-type HDACs. Here we describe a method to determine plant HDAC enzymatic activity. This protocol includes expression, purification and enzymatic activity assay of recombinant plant HDACs expressed in Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Arabidopsis thaliana (A. thaliana).

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