Molecular Biology


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0 Q&A 2464 Views Sep 5, 2021

Missense mutations in leucine rich-repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) cause forms of familial Parkinson’s disease and have been linked to ‘idiopathic’ Parkinson’s disease. Assessment of LRRK2 kinase activity has been very challenging due to its size, complex structure, and relatively low abundance. A standard in the field to assess LRRK2 kinase activity is to measure the level of substrate phosphorylation (pThr73-Rab10) or autophosphorylation of serine 1292 (i.e., phosphoserine 1292; pS1292). The levels of pS1292 have typically been assessed by western blotting, which limits cellular and anatomical resolution. Here, we describe the method for a novel proximity ligation assay (PLA) that can detect endogenous LRRK2 kinase activity (PLA LRRK2) in situ at cellular and subcellular resolutions. PLA is a fluorescence- or chromogen-based assay that can be used to either (1) detect protein-protein interactions or (2) detect and amplify post-translational modifications on proteins. We used PLA for in situ detection and amplification of LRRK2 autophosphorylation levels at serine 1292. Our findings demonstrate that PLA LRRK2 is a highly sensitive and specific assay that can be used for assessing kinase activity in cultured cells and postmortem tissues.

0 Q&A 2472 Views Aug 5, 2021

Protein phosphorylation is a nearly universal signaling mechanism. To date, a number of proteomics tools have been developed to analyze phosphorylation. Phosphoproteome-wide analyses using whole cell extracts suffer from incomplete coverage, often missing phosphorylation events from low-abundance proteins. In order to increase coverage of phosphorylation sites on individual proteins of interest (“phospho-mapping”), immunoprecipitation (IP) followed by phosphoenrichment is necessary. Unfortunately, most commercially available phosphoenrichment kits are not readily scalable to the low-microgram quantities of protein present in IP eluates. Here, we describe a simple method specifically optimized for the enrichment of phosphopeptides from IP samples using an Fe-NTA based method. This method can be added downstream of any standard immunoprecipitation protocol and upstream of any MS analysis pipeline. The protocol described herein is cost effective, uses commonly available laboratory reagents, and can be used to obtain deep coverage of individual protein phosphorylation patterns, supplementary to phosphoproteomics data.

Graphical abstract:

Phospho-mapping workflow for a hypothetical protein of interest

0 Q&A 2941 Views Sep 20, 2020
Cardiorenal syndrome defines a synergistic pathology of the heart and kidneys where failure of one organ causes failure in the other. The incidence of cardiovascular mortality caused by this syndrome, is 20 fold higher in the end stage renal disease (ESRD) population compared to the population as a whole thus necessitating the need for improved therapeutic strategies to combat reno-cardiac pathologies.

Murine in vivo models play a major role in such research permitting precise genetic modification thus reducing miscellany, however presently there is no steadfast model of reno-cardiac syndrome in the most common genetically modified mouse strain, the C57BL/6 mouse. In this study we have modified an established model of chronic renal disease using adenine diet and extended the associated pathology achieving chronic renal failure and consequent reno-cardiac syndrome in the C57BL/6 mouse.

Eight week-old male C57BL/6 mice were acclimatized for 7 days before administration of a 0.15% adenine diet or control diet for 20 weeks after which the experiment was terminated and blood, urine and organs were collected and analyzed biochemically and by immunohistochemistry.

Administration of 0.15% adenine diet caused progressive renal failure resulting in a reno-cardiac syndrome confirmed by a significantly increased heart to body weight ratio (P < 0.0001). Blood biochemistry showed that adenine fed mice had significantly increased serum creatinine, urea (P < 0.0001), and a significantly reduced glomerular filtration rate (P < 0.05), while immunohistochemistry of the kidneys for α-SMA, collagen 1 and collagen 3 showed severe fibrosis.

We present a novel regimen of adenine diet which induces both chronic kidney disease and reno-cardiac syndrome in the C57BL/6 mouse strain. The non-surgical nature of this model makes it highly reproducible compared to other models currently available.
0 Q&A 3532 Views Jun 20, 2020
Eukaryotic RNA polymerase II transcribes all protein-coding mRNAs and is highly regulated. A key mechanism directing RNA polymerase II and facilitating the co-transcriptional processing of mRNAs is the phosphorylation of its highly repetitive carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of its largest subunit, RPB1, at specific residues. A variety of techniques exist to identify and quantify the degree of CTD phosphorylation, including phosphorylation-specific antibodies and mass spectrometry. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) have been utilized since the discovery of CTD phosphorylation and continue to represent a simple, direct, and widely applicable approach for qualitatively monitoring CTD phosphorylation. We present a standardized method for EMSA analysis of recombinant GST-CTD substrates phosphorylated by a variety of CTD kinases. Strategies to analyze samples under both denatured/reduced and semi-native conditions are provided. This method represents a simple, direct, and reproducible means to monitor CTD phosphorylation in recombinant substrates utilizing equipment common to molecular biology labs and readily applicable to downstream analyses including immunoblotting and mass spectrometry.
0 Q&A 2874 Views Apr 20, 2020
Kinases function as regulators of many cellular processes such as cell migration. These enzymes typically phosphorylate target motif sequences. Mass spec or phospho-specific antibody detection can be used to determine whether a kinase can phosphorylate proteins of interest, however, mass spec can be expensive and phospho-antibodies for the protein of interest may not exist. In this protocol, we will describe an in vitro kinase assay to provide a preliminary readout on whether a protein of interest may be phosphorylated by PKA. Our protein of interest is purified after expression in bacteria and treated with recombinant PKA from bovine heart. Protein is then extracted and a western blot is performed using a phospho-specific antibody for PKA’s target motif. This will allow us to quickly determine if it is possible for PKA to phosphorylate our protein of interest.
0 Q&A 5324 Views Aug 20, 2019
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are serine/threonine kinases that have an important role in signal transduction. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 3 (ERK3), also known as MAPK6, is an atypical MAPK. Here, we describe in detail an in vitro assay for the kinase activity of ERK3 using myelin basic protein (MBP) or steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3) as substrates. The assay is carried out in the presence of [γ-32P]-ATP which results in radiolabeling of phosphorylated substrates. Separation of the reaction components by gel electrophoresis followed by autoradiography enables detection of the radiolabeled products, and hence determination of the kinase activity of ERK3. This assay can be used for several applications including identification of substrates, determination of the effect of molecules or mutations on kinase activity, and testing specific kinase inhibitors. Furthermore, the protocol outlined here can be adapted to measure the activity of other kinases by using their specific substrates.
0 Q&A 4541 Views Apr 20, 2019
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) herpesvirus (KSHV) is a virus that causes KS, an angiogenic AIDS-associated spindle-cell neoplasm, by activating host oncogenic signaling cascades through autocrine and paracrine mechanisms. Many host signaling cascades co-opted by KSHV including PI3K/AKT/mTORC, NFkB and Notch are critical for cell-specific mechanisms of transformation and their identification is paving the way to therapeutic target discovery. Analysis of the molecular KS signature common to human KS tumors and our mouse KS-like tumors showed consistent expression of KS markers VEGF and PDGF receptors with upregulation of other angiogenesis ligands and their receptors in vivo. This points to the autocrine and paracrine activation of various receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling axes. Hereby we describe a protocol to screen for activated receptor tyrosine kinase of KSHV-induced KS-like mouse tumors using a Mouse Phospho-RTK Array Kit and its validation by RTK western blots. We showed that this method can be successfully used to rank the tyrosine kinase receptors most activated in tumors in an unbiased manner. This allowed us to identify PDGFRA as an oncogenic driver and therapeutic target in AIDS-KS.
0 Q&A 7510 Views Nov 5, 2018
Oncogenic drivers play central roles in tumorigenesis as well as in tumor cell survival and proliferation. Mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) that result in constitutive activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase have been identified as oncogenic drivers in a subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). PCR-based assays are usually adopted for the detection of EGFR mutations, but no methods to detect EGFR activation that are not based on mutation identification have been established in the clinical setting. We describe a proximity ligation assay (PLA) used to visualize and quantitate EGFR homodimerization in NSCLC cell lines and tissue specimens. Rabbit monoclonal antibodies against EGFR were conjugated to PLUS or MINUS PLA oligonucleotide arms using Probemaker. Annealing of the PLUS and MINUS PLA probes occurred when two EGFR monomers were in close proximity, and repeat sequences in the annealed oligonucleotide complexes were amplified then recognized by a fluorescently-labeled oligonucleotide probe. PLA signals were detected and counted with a fluorescence microscope. We demonstrate the detection of EGFR homodimers by PLA analysis in a quantitative manner in both NSCLC cell lines and tissue samples obtained by transbronchial lung biopsy. PLA methods are a new tool for the detection and quantitation of protein-protein interactions such as homodimers, heterodimers, and fusion proteins.
0 Q&A 10507 Views Dec 5, 2016
This is a detailed protocol of an autophosphorylation and phosphotransfer activities of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 full-length Histidine Kinase 2 (Hik2) protein described by Ibrahim et al., 2016. In this protocol, radioactively labelled ATP was used to study an autophosphorylation and phosphotransfer activity of the full-length Hik2 protein.

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