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Novel protein technologies to probe the structure of membrane proteins (18) | Dr Kostas Beis
The aim of this tutorial is to review the recent developments in protein 'engineering' that have facilitated the structure elucidation of membrane proteins.
Protein 'engineering' includes mutagenesis, chimeras, antibodies, thermostabilisation and so on. The students should discuss in detail two 'engineering' approaches with structural examples.
Dr Kostas Beis
Abstract: Systematic efforts to understand membrane protein stability under a variety of different solution conditions are not widely available for membrane proteins, mainly due to technical problems stemming from the presence of detergents necessary to keep the proteins in the solubilized state and the background that such detergents usually generate during biophysical characterization. In this report, we introduce an efficient microscale fluorescent stability screen using the thiol-specific fluorochrome N-[4-(7-diethylamino-4-methyl-3-coumarinyl)phenyl]maleimide (CPM) for stability profiling of membrane proteins under different solution and ligand conditions. The screen uses the chemical reactivity of the native cysteines embedded in the protein interior as a sensor for the overall integrity of the folded state. The thermal information gained by thorough investigation of the protein stability landscape can be effectively used to guide purification and biophysical characterization efforts including crystallization. To evaluate the method, three different protein families were analyzed, including the Apelin G protein-coupled receptor (APJ).
Pub.: 13 Mar '08, Pinned: 30 Jan '17
Abstract: Structural studies of human G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have recently been accelerated through the use of a fusion partner that was inserted into the third intracellular loop. Using chimeras of the human β(2)-adrenergic and human A(2A) adenosine receptors, we present the methodology and data for the initial selection of an expanded set of fusion partners for crystallizing GPCRs. In particular, use of the thermostabilized apocytochrome b(562)RIL as a fusion partner displays certain advantages over previously utilized fusion proteins, resulting in a significant improvement in stability and structure of GPCR-fusion constructs.
Pub.: 12 Jun '12, Pinned: 30 Jan '17
Abstract: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) modulate cytoplasmic signalling in response to extracellular stimuli, and are important therapeutic targets in a wide range of diseases. Structure determination of GPCRs in all activation states is important to elucidate the precise mechanism of signal transduction and to facilitate optimal drug design. However, due to their inherent instability, crystallisation of GPCRs in complex with cytoplasmic signalling proteins, such as heterotrimeric G proteins and β-arrestins, has proved challenging. Here, we describe the design of a minimal G protein, mini-Gs, which is composed solely of the GTPase domain from the adenylate cyclase stimulating G protein Gs Mini-Gs is a small, soluble protein, which efficiently couples GPCRs in the absence of Gβγ subunits. We engineered mini-Gs, using rational design mutagenesis, to form a stable complex with detergent-solubilised β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR). Mini G proteins induce similar pharmacological and structural changes in GPCRs as heterotrimeric G proteins, but eliminate many of the problems associated with crystallisation of these complexes, specifically their large size, conformational dynamics and instability in detergent. They are therefore novel tools, which will facilitate the biochemical and structural characterisation of GPCRs in their active conformation.
Pub.: 28 Sep '16, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: The thermostability of an integral membrane protein (MP) in detergent solution is a key parameter that dictates the likelihood of obtaining well-diffracting crystals that are suitable for structure determination. However, many mammalian MPs are too unstable for crystallization. We developed a thermostabilization strategy based on systematic mutagenesis coupled to a radioligand-binding thermostability assay that can be applied to receptors, ion channels and transporters. It takes ~6–12 months to thermostabilize a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) containing 300 amino acid (aa) residues. The resulting thermostabilized MPs are more easily crystallized and result in high-quality structures. This methodology has facilitated structure-based drug design applied to GPCRs because it is possible to determine multiple structures of the thermostabilized receptors bound to low-affinity ligands. Protocols and advice are given on how to develop thermostability assays for MPs and how to combine mutations to make an optimally stable mutant suitable for structural studies. The steps in the procedure include the generation of ~300 site-directed mutants by Ala/Leu scanning mutagenesis, the expression of each mutant in mammalian cells by transient transfection and the identification of thermostable mutants using a thermostability assay that is based on binding of an 125I-labeled radioligand to the unpurified, detergent-solubilized MP. Individual thermostabilizing point mutations are then combined to make an optimally stable MP that is suitable for structural biology and other biophysical studies.
Pub.: 28 Jul '16, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: Bestrophin calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs) regulate the flow of chloride and other monovalent anions across cellular membranes in response to intracellular calcium (Ca(2+)) levels. Mutations in bestrophin 1 (BEST1) cause certain eye diseases. Here we present X-ray structures of chicken BEST1-Fab complexes, at 2.85 Å resolution, with permeant anions and Ca(2+). Representing, to our knowledge, the first structure of a CaCC, the eukaryotic BEST1 channel, which recapitulates CaCC function in liposomes, is formed from a pentameric assembly of subunits. Ca(2+) binds to the channel's large cytosolic region. A single ion pore, approximately 95 Å in length, is located along the central axis and contains at least 15 binding sites for anions. A hydrophobic neck within the pore probably forms the gate. Phenylalanine residues within it may coordinate permeating anions via anion-π interactions. Conformational changes observed near the 'Ca(2+) clasp' hint at the mechanism of Ca(2+)-dependent gating. Disease-causing mutations are prevalent within the gating apparatus.
Pub.: 23 Oct '14, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: Within the last decade, nanoscale lipid bilayers have emerged as powerful experimental systems in the analysis of membrane proteins (MPs) for both basic and applied research. These discoidal lipid lamellae are stabilized by annuli of specially engineered amphipathic polypeptides (nanodiscs) or polymers (SMALPs/Lipodisqs®). As biomembrane mimetics, they are well suited for the reconstitution of MPs within a controlled lipid environment. Moreover, because they are water-soluble, they are amenable to solution-based biochemical and biophysical experimentation. Hence, due to their solubility, size, stability, and monodispersity, nanoscale lipid bilayers offer technical advantages over more traditional MP analytic approaches such as detergent solubilization and reconstitution into lipid vesicles. In this article, we review some of the most recent advances in the synthesis of polypeptide- and polymer-bound nanoscale lipid bilayers and their application in the study of MP structure and function.
Pub.: 16 Jul '14, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: Porins, like outer membrane protein G (OmpG) of Escherichia coli, are ideal templates among ion channels for protein and chemical engineering because of their robustness and simple architecture. OmpG shows fast transitions between open and closed states, which were attributed to loop 6 (L6). As flickering limits single-channel-based applications, we pruned L6 by either 8 or 12 amino acids. While the open probabilities of both L6 variants resemble that of native OmpG, their gating frequencies were reduced by 63 and 81%, respectively. Using the 3.2 Å structure of the shorter L6 variant in the open state, we engineered a minimal porin (220 amino acids), where all remaining extramembranous loops were truncated. Unexpectedly, this minimized porin still exhibited gating, but it was 5-fold less frequent than in OmpG. The residual gating of the minimal pore is hence independent of L6 rearrangements and involves narrowing of the ion conductance pathway most probably driven by global stretching-flexing deformations of the membrane-embedded β-barrel.
Pub.: 06 Jul '14, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: The lipidic mesophase or in meso method for crystallizing membrane proteins has several high profile targets to its credit and is growing in popularity. Despite its success, the method is in its infancy as far as rational crystallogenesis is concerned. Consequently, significant time, effort, and resources are still required to generate structure-grade crystals, especially with a new target type. Therefore, a need exists for crystallogenesis protocols that are effective with a broad range of membrane protein types. Recently, a strategy for crystallizing a prokaryotic α-helical membrane protein, diacylglycerol kinase (DgkA), by the in meso method was reported (Cryst. Growth. Des.2013, 14, 2846-2857). Here, we describe its application to the human α-helical microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase 1 (mPGES1). While the DgkA strategy proved useful, significant modifications were needed to generate structure-quality crystals of this important therapeutic target. These included protein engineering, using an additive phospholipid in the hosting mesophase, performing multiple rounds of salt screening, and carrying out trials at 4 °C in the presence of a tight binding ligand. The crystallization strategy detailed here should prove useful for generating structures of other integral membrane proteins by the in meso method.
Pub.: 08 May '14, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
Abstract: Genes encoding membrane proteins have been estimated to comprise as much as 30% of the human genome. Among these membrane, proteins are a large number of signaling receptors, transporters, ion channels and enzymes that are vital to cellular regulation, metabolism and homeostasis. While many membrane proteins are considered high-priority targets for drug design, there is a dearth of structural and biochemical information on them. This lack of information stems from the inherent insolubility and instability of transmembrane domains, which prevents easy obtainment of high-resolution crystals to specifically study structure-function relationships. In part, this lack of structures has greatly impeded our understanding in the field of membrane proteins. One method that can be used to enhance our understanding is directed evolution, a molecular biology method that mimics natural selection to engineer proteins that have specific phenotypes. It is a powerful technique that has considerable success with globular proteins, notably the engineering of protein therapeutics. With respect to transmembrane protein targets, this tool may be underutilized. Another powerful tool to investigate membrane protein structure-function relationships is computational modeling. This review will discuss these protein engineering methods and their tremendous potential in the study of membrane proteins.
Pub.: 03 Nov '12, Pinned: 25 Jan '17
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