Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 891 Views Sep 5, 2023

Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is a label-free optical technique to assess protein–protein interaction kinetics and affinities in a real-time setting. Traditionally, Biacore SPR employs a continuous film of gold to detect any change in the angle of re-emitted light when the refractive index of a ligand conjugated to the flat gold surface is altered by its interaction with a local analyte. In contrast, the Nicoya Lifesciences’ OpenSPR technology uses gold nanoparticles to detect small changes in the absorbance peak wavelength of a conjugated ligand after its engagement by an analyte. Specifically, when broadband white light is shone onto the gold nanoparticles, it produces a strong resonance absorbance peak corresponding to the refractive index of a ligand conjugated to the surface of gold nanoparticles. Upon its interaction with an analyte, however, the absorbance wavelength peak of the conjugated ligand will be changed and timely recorded as sensorgrams of dynamic ligand–analyte interactions. Thus, the improvement in the detection method (from traditional detection of changes in the angle of re-emitted light to the contemporary detection of changes in the wavelength of the absorbance peak) features OpenSPR as a cost-effective and user-friendly technique for in-depth characterization of protein–protein interactions. Here, we describe the detailed method that we used to characterize procathepsin L (pCTS-L) interactions with two putative pattern recognition receptors (TLR4 and RAGE) using the 1st generation of Nicoya Lifesciences’ OpenSPR instrument with a 1-channel detection.

Key features

• Nicoya OpenSPR is a benchtop small-size equipment that provides in-depth label-free binding kinetics and affinity measurement for protein–protein interactions in real-time fashion.

• This technology is relatively intuitive and user-friendly for scientists at any skill level.

• OpenSPR sensors employ nanotechnology to reduce the cost of manufacturing complex optical hardware and Sensor Chips, and similarly reduce the consumption of precious analyte samples.

• The manufacturer provides online training for OpenSPR (Catalog: TRAIN-REMOTE) and TraceDrawer (Catalog: TRAIN-TD) to customer scientists.

0 Q&A 961 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.

1 Q&A 1890 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 2026 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.

0 Q&A 7069 Views Dec 5, 2021

The experimental identification of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is critical to understand protein function. Thus, a plethora of sensitive and versatile approaches have been developed to detect PPIs in vitro or in vivo, such as protein pull-down, yeast two-hybrid (Y2H), co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP), and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays. The recently established split-luciferase complementation (Split-LUC) imaging assay has several advantages compared to other approaches to detect PPIs in planta: it is a relatively simple and fast method to detect PPIs in vivo; the results are quantitative, with high sensitivity and low background; it measures dynamic PPIs in real-time; and it requires limited experimental materials and instrumentation. In this assay, the amino-terminal and carboxyl-terminal halves of the luciferase enzyme are fused to two proteins of interest (POIs), respectively; the luciferase protein is reconstituted when two POIs interact with each other, giving rise to a measurable activity. Here, we describe a protocol for the Split-LUC imaging assay using a pair of modified gateway-compatible vectors upon Agrobacterium-mediated transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana. With this setup, we have successfully confirmed a series of interactions among virus-plant proteins, virus-virus proteins, plant-plant proteins, or bacteria-plant proteins in N. benthamiana.

0 Q&A 1822 Views Sep 20, 2021

In the field of chromatin biology, a major goal of understanding the roles of histone post-translational modifications is to identify the proteins and domains that recognize these modifications. Synthetic histone peptides containing one or more modifications are a key tool to probe these interactions in pull-down assays with recombinant proteins or cell lysates. Building on these approaches, the binding specificity of a protein of interest can be screened against many histone peptides in parallel using a peptide array. In this protocol, we describe the expression and purification of a recombinant protein of interest in bacteria, followed by an assay for binding to histone post-translational modifications using a commercially available histone peptide array. The purification uses a versatile dual-tagging and cleavage strategy and equipment commonly available in a molecular biology laboratory.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of protocol for purifying recombinant protein and hybridizing to a histone peptide array.

1 Q&A 4869 Views May 20, 2021

The intracellular interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) dimerization assay is a technique designed to measure molecular interaction(s) with endogenous IRF5. Here, we present two methods that detect endogenous IRF5 homodimerization and interaction of endogenous IR5 with cell penetrating peptide (CPP) inhibitors. Briefly, to detect endogenous IRF5 dimers, THP-1 cells are incubated in the presence or absence of the IRF5-targeted CPP (IRF5-CPP) inhibitor for 30 min then the cells are stimulated with R848 for 1 h. Cell lysates are separated by native-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and IRF5 dimers are detected by immunoblotting with IRF5 antibodies. To detect endogenous interactions between IRF5 and FITC-labeled IRF5-CPP, an in-cell fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay is used. In this assay, THP-1 cells are left untreated or treated with FITC-IRF5-CPP conjugated inhibitors for 1 h. Next, cells are fixed, permeabilized, and stained with anti-IRF5 and TRITC-conjugated secondary antibodies. Transfer of fluorescence can be measured and calculated as FRET units. These methods provide rapid and accurate assays to detect IRF5 molecular interactions.

0 Q&A 5683 Views Dec 5, 2020

Protein-protein interactions play key roles in nuclear processes including transcription, replication, DNA damage repair, and recombination. Co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) followed by western blot or mass spectrometry is an invaluable approach to identify protein-protein interactions. One of the challenges in the Co-IP of a protein localized to nucleus is the extraction of nuclear proteins from sub-nuclear fractions without losing physiologically relevant protein interactions. Here we describe a protocol for native Co-IP, which was originally used to successfully identify previously known as well novel topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) interacting proteins. In this protocol, we first extracted nuclear proteins by sequentially increasing detergent and salt concentrations, the extracted fractions were then diluted, pooled, and used for Co-IP. This protocol can be used to identify protein-interactome of other chromatin-associated proteins in a variety of mammalian cells.

0 Q&A 6532 Views Apr 5, 2020
The binding interactions of PD-1 and PD-L1 have been studied by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) over the past few years, but these investigations resulted in controversy regarding the values of the dissociation constant (Kd) (Freeman et al., 2000). MST is a powerful new method for the quantitative analysis of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) with low sample consumption. The technique is based on the movement of molecules along microscopic temperature gradients, and it detects changes in their hydration shell, charge or size. One binding partner is fluorescently labeled, while the other binding partner remains label-free. We used a protocol that allows the determination of the binding affinity by MST without purification of the target protein from the cell lysate. The application of this MST method to PD-1-eGFP and PD-L1-eGFP expressed in CHO-K1 cells allowed us, for the first time, to determine the affinity of the complex formed between PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 during tumor escape. The protocol has a variety of potential applications for studying the interactions of proteins with small molecules.
0 Q&A 7007 Views Feb 20, 2020
Protein-protein interactions constitute the molecular foundations of virtually all biological processes. Co-immunoprecipitation (CoIP) experiments are probably the most widely used method to probe both heterotypic and homotypic protein-protein interactions. Recent advances in super-resolution microscopy have revealed that several nuclear proteins such as transcription factors are spatially distributed into local high-concentration clusters in mammalian cells, suggesting that many nuclear proteins self-interact. These observations have further underscored the need for orthogonal biochemical approaches for testing if self-association occurs, and if so, what the mechanisms are. Here, we describe a CoIP protocol specifically optimized to test self-association of endogenously tagged nuclear proteins (self-CoIP), and to evaluate the role of nucleic acids in such self-interaction. This protocol has proven reliable and robust in our hands, and it can be used to test both homotypic and heterotypic (CoIP) protein-protein interactions.

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