Spx activates transcription initiation in Bacillus subtilis by directly interacting with the C-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme α subunit, which generates a complex that recognizes the promoter regions of genes within the Spx regulon. Many Gram-positive species possess multiple paralogs of Spx, suggesting that two paralogous forms of Spx could simultaneously contact RNAP. The composition of Spx/RNAP was examined in vitro using an Spx variant (SpxΔCHA) bearing a 12-amino-acid deletion of the C terminus (SpxΔC) and a hemagglutinin (HA) epitope tag and Spxc-Myc, a full-length Spx with a C-terminal myelocytomatosis oncoprotein (c-Myc) epitope tag. All Spx/RNAP complexes bearing deletion or C-terminal-tagged variants were transcriptionally active in vivo and in vitro. Reaction mixtures containing SpxΔCHA and Spxc-Myc combined with RNAP were applied to either anti-HA or anti-c-Myc affinity columns. Eluted fractions contained RNAP with only one of the epitope-tagged Spx derivatives. The resin-bound RNAP complex bearing a single epitope-tagged Spx derivative was transcriptionally active. In vivo production of SpxΔC and SpxΔCHA followed by anti-HA affinity column chromatography of a cleared lysate resulted in retrieval of Spx/RNAP with only the SpxΔCHA derivative. Binding reactions that combined active Spxc-Myc, inactive Spx(R60E)ΔCHA, and RNAP, when applied to the anti-HA affinity column, yielded only inactive Spx(R60E)ΔCHA/RNAP complexes. The results strongly argue for a model in which a single Spx monomer engages RNAP to generate an active transcriptional complex.
Measles virus (MV) is the type species of the Morbillivirus genus and its RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex is comprised of two viral polypeptides, the large (L) and the phospho- (P) proteins. Sequence alignments of morbillivirus L polymerases have demonstrated the existence of three well-conserved domains (D1, D2, and D3) which are linked by two variable hinges (H1 and H2). Epitope tags (c-Myc) were introduced into H1 and H2 to investigate the tolerance of the variable regions to insertions and to probe the flexibility of the proposed domain structures to spatial reorientation. Insertion into H1 abolished polymerase activity whereas introduction into H2 had no effect. The open reading frame of enhanced green fluorescent protein was also inserted into the H2 region of the MV L gene to extend these observations. This resulted in a recombinant protein that was both functional and autofluorescent, although the overall polymerase activity was reduced by over 40%. Two recombinant viruses which contained the chimeric L genes EdtagL(MMc-mycM) and EdtagL(MMEGFPM) were generated. Tagged L proteins were detectable, by indirect immunofluorescence in the case of EdtagL(MMc-mycM) and by autofluorescence in the case of EdtagL(MMEGFPM). We suggest that D3 enjoys a limited conformational independence from the other domains, indicating that the L polymerases of the Mononegavirales may function as multidomain proteins.
Genetically encoded tag is a powerful tool for protein research. Various kinds of tags have been developed: fluorescent proteins for live-cell imaging, affinity tags for protein isolation, and epitope tags for immunological detections. One of the major problems concerning the protein tagging is that many constructs with different tags have to be made for different applications, which is time- and resource-consuming.
Here we report a novel multifunctional green fluorescent protein (mfGFP) tag which was engineered by inserting multiple peptide tags, i.e., octa-histidine (8×His), streptavidin-binding peptide (SBP), and c-Myc tag, in tandem into a loop of GFP. When fused to various proteins, mfGFP monitored their localization in living cells. Streptavidin agarose column chromatography with the SBP tag successfully isolated the protein complexes in a native form with a high purity. Tandem affinity purification (TAP) with 8×His and SBP tags in mfGFP further purified the protein complexes. mfGFP was clearly detected by c-Myc-specific antibody both in immunofluorescence and immuno-electron microscopy (EM). These findings indicate that mfGFP works well as a multifunctional tag in mammalian cells. The tag insertion was also successful in other fluorescent protein, mCherry.
Conclusions and Significance
The multifunctional fluorescent protein tag is a useful tool for a wide variety of protein research, and may have the advantage over other multiple tag systems in its higher expandability and compatibility with existing and future tag technologies.
The envelope glycoprotein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) consists of two subunits, gp120 and gp41. The extraviral portion (ectodomain) of gp41 contains an α-helical domain that likely represents the core of the fusion-active conformation of the molecule. Here we report the identification and characterization of a minimal, autonomous folding subdomain that retains key determinants in specifying the overall fold of the gp41 ectodomain core. This subdomain, designated N34(L6)C28, is formed by covalent attachment of peptides N-34 and C-28 by a short flexible linker in place of the normal disulfide-bonded loop sequence. N34(L6)C28 forms a highly thermostable, α-helical trimer. Point mutations within the envelope protein complex that abolish membrane fusion and HIV-1 infectivity also impede the formation of the N34(L6)C28 core. Moreover, N34(L6)C28 is capable of inhibiting HIV-1 envelope-mediated membrane fusion. Taken together, these results indicate that the N34(L6)C28 core plays a direct role in the membrane fusion step of HIV-1 infection and thus provides a molecular target for the development of antiviral pharmaceutical agents.
Epitope tagging permits the detection of proteins when protein-specific antibodies are not available. However, the epitope tag can reduce the function of the tagged protein. Here we describe a cassette that can be used to introduce an eight amino acid flexible linker between multiple Myc epitopes and the open reading frame of a given gene. We show that inserting the linker improves the in vivo ability of the telomerase subunits Est2p and Est1p to maintain telomere length. The methods used here are generally applicable to improve the function of tagged proteins in both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
epitope tag; protein linker; in vivo function; telomere; yeast telomerase
Many techniques in molecular biology, clinical diagnostics and biotechnology rely on binary affinity tags. The existing tags are based on either small molecules (e.g., biotin/streptavidin or glutathione/GST) or peptide tags (FLAG, Myc, HA, Strep-tag and His-tag). Among these, the biotin-streptavidin system is most popular due to the nearly irreversible interaction of biotin with the tetrameric protein, streptavidin. The major drawback of the stable biotin-streptavidin system, however, is that neither of the two tags can be added to a protein of interest via recombinant means (except for the Strep-tag case) leading to the requirement for chemical coupling.
Here we report a new immobilization system which utilizes two monomeric polypeptides which self-assemble to produce non-covalent yet nearly irreversible complex which is stable in strong detergents, chaotropic agents, as well as in acids and alkali. Our system is based on the core region of the tetra-helical bundle known as the SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complex. This irreversible protein attachment system (IPAS) uses either a shortened syntaxin helix and fused SNAP25-synaptobrevin or a fused syntaxin-synaptobrevin and SNAP25 allowing a two-component system suitable for recombinant protein tagging, capture and immobilization. We also show that IPAS is suitable for use with traditional beads and chromatography, planar surfaces and Biacore, gold nanoparticles and for protein-protein interaction in solution.
IPAS offers an alternative to chemical cross-linking, streptavidin-biotin system and to traditional peptide affinity tags and can be used for a wide range of applications in nanotechnology and molecular sciences.
The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) Large protein L is the catalytic subunit of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase complex. Currently, no structural information is available for RSV L. Sequence alignments of L protein from human and bovine strains of RSV revealed the existence of two variable regions, VR1 and VR2. Following comparison with morbillivirus and rhabdovirus L genes, VR2, which is located between domains V and VI, was chosen as an insertion site for sequences encoding the epitope tag HA or the fluorescent proteins eGFP and mCherry. Recombinant tagged-L proteins co-localized with RSV N and P proteins in transfected cells. These recombinant polymerases were shown to be functional using a viral minigenome system assay, their activities being reduced by ~70% compared to the unmodified L polymerase. We have also shown by site-directed mutagenesis that the GDNQ motif (residues 810-813 for the Long strain of HRSV) is essential for L activity.
Respiratory syncytial virus; L protein; RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; HA tag; eGFP; mCherry.
Here we describe the construction and application of six new tagging vectors allowing the fusion of two different types of tagging sequences, epitope and localization tags, to any Bacillus subtilis protein. These vectors are based on the backbone of pMUTIN2 and replace the lacZ gene with tagging sequences. Fusion of the tagging sequences occurs by PCR amplification of the 3′ terminal part of the gene of interest (about 300 bp), insertion into the tagging vector in such a way that a fusion protein will be synthesized upon integration of the whole vector via homologous recombination with the chromosomal gene. Three of these tagging sequences (FLAG, hemagglutinin, and c-Myc) allow the covalent addition of a short epitope tag and thereby detection of the fusion proteins in immunoblots, while three other tags (green fluorescent protein+, yellow fluorescent protein, and cyan fluorescent protein) are helpful in assigning proteins within one of the compartments of the cell. The versatility of these vectors was demonstrated by fusing these tags to the cytoplasmically located HtpG and the inner membrane protein FtsH.
Epitope-tagged Xenopus nucleolin was expressed in Escherichia coli cells and in Xenopus oocytes either as a full-length wild-type protein or as a truncation that lacked the distinctive carboxy glycine/arginine-rich (GAR) domain. Both full-length and truncated versions of nucleolin were tagged at their amino termini with five tandem human c-myc epitopes. Whether produced in E. coli or in Xenopus, epitope-tagged full-length nucleolin bound nucleic acid probes in in vitro filter binding assays. Conversely, the E. coli-expressed GAR truncation failed to bind the nucleic acid probes, whereas the Xenopus-expressed truncation maintained slight binding activity. Indirect immunofluorescence staining showed that myc-tagged full-length nucleolin properly localized to the dense fibrillar regions within the multiple nucleoli of Xenopus oocyte nuclei. The epitope-tagged GAR truncation also translocated to the oocyte nuclei, but it failed to efficiently localize to the nucleoli. Our results show that the carboxy GAR domain must be present for nucleolin to efficiently bind nucleic acids in vitro and to associate with nucleoli in vivo.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the products of at least 14 genes are involved specifically in vesicular transport from the Golgi apparatus to the plasma membrane. Two of these genes, SEC8 and SEC15, encode components of a 1-2-million D multi-subunit complex that is found in the cytoplasm and associated with the plasma membrane. In this study, oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis is used to alter the COOH- terminal portion of Sec8 with a 6-histidine tag, a 9E10 c-myc epitope, or both, to allow the isolation of the Sec8/15 complex from yeast lysates either by immobilized metal affinity chromatography or by immunoprecipitation. Sec6 cofractionates with Sec8/15 by immobilized metal affinity chromatography, gel filtration chromatography, and by sucrose velocity centrifugation. Sec6 and Sec15 coimmunoprecipitate from lysates with c-myc-tagged Sec8. These data indicate that the Sec8/15 complex contains Sec6 as a stable component. Additional proteins associated with Sec6/8/15 were identified by immunoprecipitations from radiolabeled lysates. The entire Sec6/8/15 complex contains at least eight polypeptides which range in molecular mass from 70 to 144 kD. Yeast strains containing temperature sensitive mutations in the SEC genes were also transformed with the SEC8-c-myc-6- histidine construct and analyzed by immunoprecipitation. The composition of the Sec6/8/15 complex is disrupted specifically in the sec3-2, sec5-24, and sec10-2 strain backgrounds. The c-myc-Sec8 protein is localized by immunofluorescence to small bud tips indicating that the Sec6/8/15 complex may function at sites of exocytosis.
Plant orthologs of the yeast sucrose non-fermenting (Snf1) kinase and mammalian AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) represent an emerging class of important regulators of metabolic and stress signalling. The catalytic α-subunits of plant Snf1-related kinases (SnRKs) interact in the yeast two-hybrid system with different proteins that share conserved domains with the β- and γ-subunits of Snf1 and AMPKs. However, due to the lack of a robust technique allowing the detection of protein interactions in plant cells, it is unknown whether these proteins indeed occur in SnRK complexes in vivo. Here we describe a double-labelling technique, using intron-tagged hemagglutinin (HA) and c-Myc epitope sequences, which provides a simple tool for co-immunopurification of interacting proteins expressed in Agrobacterium-transformed Arabidopsis cells. This generally applicable plant protein interaction assay was used to demonstrate that AKINβ2, a plant ortholog of conserved Snf1/AMPK β-subunits, forms different complexes with the catalytic α-subunits of Arabidopsis SnRK protein kinases AKIN10 and AKIN11 in vivo.
Dystroglycan (DG) is an extracellular receptor composed of two subunits, α-DG and β-DG, connected through the α-DG C-terminal domain and the β-DG N-terminal domain. We report an alanine scanning of all DG cysteine residues performed on DG-GFP constructs overexpressed in 293-Ebna cells, demonstrating that Cys-669 and Cys-713, both located within the β-DG N-terminal domain, are key residues for the DG precursor cleavage and trafficking, but not for the interaction between the two DG subunits. In addition, we have used immunprecipitation and confocal microscopy showing that ERp57, a member of the disulfide isomerase family involved in glycoprotein folding, is associated and colocalizes immunohistochemically with β-DG in the ER and at the plasma membrane of 293-Ebna cells. The β-DG–ERp57 complex also included α-DG. DG mutants, unable to undergo the precursor cleavage, were still associated to ERp57. β-DG and ERp57 were also co-immunoprecipitated in rat heart and kidney tissues. In vitro, a mutant ERp57, mimicking the reduced form of the wild-type protein, interacts directly with the recombinant N-terminal domain of both α-DG and β-DG with apparent dissociation constant values in the micromolar range. ERp57 is likely to be involved in the DG processing/maturation pathway, but its association to the mature DG complex might also suggest some further functional role that needs to be investigated.
► Cys-669 and Cys-713 are key residues for dystroglycan precursor cleavage. ► ERp57 is co-immunopurified with dystroglycan. ► ERp57 co-localizes with dystroglycan in the ER and at the plasma membrane. ► Recombinant ERp57 binds directly to dystroglycan recombinant domains.
DG, dystroglycan; pre-DG, dystroglycan precursor; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; DTT, dithiothreitol; sWGL, succinylated wheat germ lectin; Dystroglycan; ERp57; Immunoprecipitation; Fluorescence microscopy; Solid-phase binding assay
The delivery of foreign epitopes by a replicating nonpathogenic avian infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) was explored. The aim of the study was to identify regions in the IBDV genome that are amenable to the introduction of a sequence encoding a foreign peptide. By using a cDNA-based reverse genetics system, insertions or substitutions of sequences encoding epitope tags (FLAG, c-Myc, or hepatitis C virus epitopes) were engineered in the open reading frames of a nonstructural protein (VP5) and the capsid protein (VP2). Attempts were also made to generate recombinant IBDV that displayed foreign epitopes in the exposed loops (PBC and PHI) of the VP2 trimer. We successfully recovered recombinant IBDVs expressing c-Myc and two different virus-neutralizing epitopes of human hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope glycoprotein E in the VP5 region. Western blot analyses with anti-c-Myc and anti-HCV antibodies provided positive identification of both the c-Myc and HCV epitopes that were fused to the N terminus of VP5. Genetic analysis showed that the recombinants carrying the c-Myc/HCV epitopes maintained the foreign gene sequences and were stable after several passages in Vero and 293T cells. This is the first report describing efficient expression of foreign peptides from a replication-competent IBDV and demonstrates the potential of this virus as a vector.
Dystroglycan is a ubiquitously expressed heterodimeric adhesion receptor. The extracellular α-subunit makes connections with a number of laminin G domain ligands including laminins, agrin and perlecan in the extracellular matrix and the transmembrane β-subunit makes connections to the actin filament network via cytoskeletal linkers including dystrophin, utrophin, ezrin and plectin, depending on context. Originally discovered as part of the dystrophin glycoprotein complex of skeletal muscle, dystroglycan is an important adhesion molecule and signalling scaffold in a multitude of cell types and tissues and is involved in several diseases. Dystroglycan has emerged as a multifunctional adhesion platform with many interacting partners associating with its short unstructured cytoplasmic domain. Two particular hotspots are the cytoplasmic juxtamembrane region and at the very carboxy terminus of dystroglycan. Regions which between them have several overlapping functions: in the juxtamembrane region; a nuclear localisation signal, ezrin/radixin/moesin protein, rapsyn and ERK MAP Kinase binding function, and at the C terminus a regulatory tyrosine governing WW, SH2 and SH3 domain interactions. We will discuss the binding partners for these motifs and how their interactions and regulation can modulate the involvement of dystroglycan in a range of different adhesion structures and functions depending on context. Thus dystroglycan presents as a multifunctional scaffold involved in adhesion and adhesion-mediated signalling with its functions under exquisite spatio-temporal regulation.
Tags are widely used to monitor a protein’s expression level, interactions, protein trafficking, and localization. Membrane proteins are often tagged in their extracellular domains to allow discrimination between protein in the plasma membrane from that in internal pools. Multipass membrane proteins offer special challenges for inserting a tag since the extracellular regions are often composed of small loops and thus inserting an epitope tag risks perturbing the structure, function, or location of the membrane protein. We have developed a novel tagging system called snorkel where a transmembrane domain followed by a tag is appended to the cytoplasmic C-terminus of the membrane protein. In this way the tag is displayed extracellularly, but structurally separate from the membrane protein. We have tested the snorkel tag system on a diverse panel of membrane proteins including GPCRs and ion channels and demonstrated that it reliably allows for monitoring of the surface expression.
Four outer membrane proteins of Escherichia coli were examined for their capabilities and limitations in displaying heterologous peptide inserts on the bacterial cell surface. The T7 tag or multiple copies of the myc epitope were inserted into loops 4 and 5 of the ferrichrome and phage T5 receptor FhuA. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis showed that peptides of up to 250 amino acids were efficiently displayed on the surface of E. coli as inserts within FhuA. Strains expressing FhuA fusion proteins behaved similarly to those expressing wild-type FhuA, as judged by phage infection and colicin sensitivity. The vitamin B12 and phage BF23 receptor BtuB could display peptide inserts of at least 86 amino acids containing the T7 tag. In contrast, the receptors of the phages K3 and λ, OmpA and LamB, accepted only insertions in their respective loop 4 of up to 40 amino acids containing the T7 tag. The insertion of larger fragments resulted in inefficient transport and/or assembly of OmpA and LamB fusion proteins into the outer membrane. Cells displaying a foreign peptide fused to any one of these outer membrane proteins were almost completely recovered by magnetic cell sorting from a large pool of cells expressing the relevant wild-type platform protein only. Thus, this approach offers a fast and simple screening procedure for cells displaying heterologous polypeptides. The combination of FhuA, along with with BtuB and LamB, should provide a comprehensive tool for displaying complex peptide libraries of various insert sizes on the surface of E. coli for diverse applications.
A FLAG epitope tag was substituted within variable loop 1 (V1), 2 (V2), or 4 (V4) of the gp120 envelope glycoprotein of simian immunodeficiency virus strain 239 (SIV239) to evaluate the extent to which each variable loop may serve as a target for antibody-mediated neutralization. Two sites within each variable loop of SIV239 were chosen for individual epitope tag insertions. FLAG epitope substitutions were also made in the V1, V2, and V4 loops of a neutralization-sensitive derivative of SIV239, SIV316. Of the 10 FLAG-tagged recombinant viruses analyzed, three (SIV239FV1b, SIV239FV2b, and SIV239FV4a) replicated with kinetics similar to those of the parental strain, SIV239, in both CEMx174 cells and the immortalized rhesus monkey T-cell line 221. The SIV316FV1b and SIV316FV4a FLAG variants replicated with a substantial lag, and the five remaining recombinants did not replicate detectably. Both gp160 and gp120 from replication-competent FLAG variants could be immunoprecipitated from transfected 293T cells by the anti-gp120 rhesus monoclonal antibody (RhMAb) 3.11H, the anti-FLAG MAb M2, and CD4-immunoglobulin, whereas only unprocessed gp160 was detected in 293T cells transfected with replication-defective variants. Furthermore, gp120 was detectably incorporated only into virions that were infectious. SIV239FV1b was sensitive to neutralization by MAb M2, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 1 μg/ml. Neither SIV239FV2b nor SIV239FV4a was sensitive to M2 neutralization. The ability of the M2 antibody to neutralize SIV239FV1b infectivity was associated with an increased ability of the M2 antibody to detect native, oligomeric SIV239FV1b envelope protein on the surfaces of cells relative to that for the other SIV FLAG variants. Furthermore, SIV239FV1b was globally more sensitive to antibody-mediated neutralization than was parental SIV239 when these strains were screened with a panel of anti-SIV MAbs of various specificities. These results indicate that the V1 loop can serve as an effective target for neutralization on SIV239FV1b. However, antibody-mediated neutralization of this variant, similar to that of other SIV239 variants that have been studied previously, was associated with a global increase in neutralization sensitivity. These results suggest that the variable loops on the neutralization-resistant SIV239 strain are difficult for antibodies to access effectively and that mutations that allow neutralization have global effects on the trimeric envelope glycoprotein structure and accessibility.
Bähler et al. (1998) recently described a PCR-based system for the deletion, tagging and overexpression of endogenous genes in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. A small set of PCR primers can be used to generate gene-targeting substrates from each of several modules that differ in the selectable marker (ura4+ or kanMX6), the presence or absence of specific epitope tags (HA, Myc, GST or GFP), the position in which the epitopes will be inserted (C- or N-terminal), and the presence or absence of a regulatable promoter (the nmt1 promoter). This is a straightforward and powerful system: nine different genes were C-terminal tagged at an average efficiency of 73%, using primers producing only 60–81 bp of homology. In contrast, when studying three transcriptionally-silent genes (rec8+, rec10+ and rec11+) we obtained an average homologous integration efficiency of 4% for 12 targeting constructs when using primers that contained 80 bp of homology. By using a PCR-based increase in the amount of flanking homology to ≥250 bp, we obtained homologous integration efficiencies of up to 100%. Thus, loci of S. pombe that are refractory to gene targeting when using short tracts of homology can be readily modified by increasing the extent of homology flanking the targeting modules. This straightforward and cost-effective approach might therefore be the one of choice for the modification of S. pombe loci in general and of targeting-refractory loci in particular.
fission yeast; polymerase chain reaction; homologous recombination; targeted integration; epitope tagging; gene disruption; gene expression
Chromatin on the inactive X chromosome (Xi) of female mammals
is enriched for the histone variant macroH2A that can be detected
at interphase as a distinct nuclear structure referred to as a macro chromatin
body (MCB). Green fluorescent protein-tagged and Myc epitope-tagged
macroH2A readily form an MCB in the nuclei of transfected female,
but not male, cells. Using targeted disruptions, we have identified
two macrochromatin domains within macroH2A that are independently
capable of MCB formation and association with the Xi. Complete removal
of the non-histone C-terminal tail does not reduce the efficiency
of association of the variant histone domain of macroH2A with the
Xi, indicating that the histone portion alone can target the Xi.
The non-histone domain by itself is incapable of MCB formation.
However, when directed to the nucleosome by fusion to core histone
H2A or H2B, the non-histone tail forms an MCB that appears identical
to that of the endogenous protein. Mutagenesis of the non-histone
portion of macroH2A localized the region required for MCB formation
and targeting to the Xi to an ∼190 amino
PCR-mediated gene modification is a powerful approach to the functional analysis of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. One application of this method is epitope-tagging of a gene to analyse the corresponding protein by immunological methods. However, the number of epitope tags available in a convenient format is still low, and interference with protein function by the epitope, particularly if it is large, is not uncommon. To address these limitations and broaden the utility of the method, we constructed a set of convenient template plasmids designed for PCR-based C-terminal tagging with 10 different, relatively short peptide sequences that are recognized by commercially available monoclonal antibodies. The encoded tags are FLAG, 3 × FLAG, T7, His-tag, Strep-tag II, S-tag, Myc, HSV, VSV-G and V5. The same pair of primers can be used to construct tagged alleles of a gene of interest with any of the 10 tags. In addition, a six-glycine linker sequence is inserted upstream of these tags to minimize the influence of the tag on the target protein and maximize its accessibility for antibody binding. Three marker genes, HIS3MX6, kanMX6 and hphMX4, are available for each epitope. We demonstrate the utility of the new tags for both immunoblotting and one-step affinity purification of the regulatory particle of the 26S proteasome. The set of plasmids has been deposited in the non-profit plasmid repository Addgene (http://www.addgene.org).
epitope tagging; PCR; yeast; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; pFA6a plasmid; proteasome
Antibodies are indispensable reagents in basic research, and those raised against tags constitute a useful tool for the evaluation of the biochemistry and biology of novel proteins. In this paper, we describe the isolation and characterization of a single-domain recombinant antibody (VHH) specific for the SNAP-tag, using Twist2 as a test-protein. The antibody was efficient in western blot, immunoprecipitation, immunopurification, and immunofluorescence. The sequence corresponding to the anti-SNAP has been subcloned for large-scale expression in vectors that allow its fusion to either a 6xHis-tag or the Fc domain of rabbit IgG2 taking advantage of a new plasmid that was specifically designed for VHH antibodies. The two different fusion antibodies were compared in immunopurification and immunofluorescence experiments, and the recombinant protein SNAP-Twist2 was accurately identified by the anti-SNAP Fc-VHH construct in the nuclear/nucleolar subcellular compartment. Furthermore, such localization was confirmed by direct Twist2 identification by means of anti-Twisit2 VHH antibodies recovered after panning of the same naïve phage display library used to isolate the anti-SNAP binders. Our successful localization of Twist2 protein using the SNAP-tag-based approach and the anti-Twist2-specific recombinant single-domain antibodies opens new research possibilities in this field.
In peripheral nerve myelin, the intraperiod line results from compaction of the extracellular space due to homophilic adhesion between extracellular domains (ECD) of the protein zero (P0) glycoprotein. Point mutations in this region of P0 cause human hereditary demyelinating neuropathies such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth. We describe transgenic mice expressing a full-length P0 modified in the ECD with a myc epitope tag. The presence of the myc sequence caused a dysmyelinating peripheral neuropathy similar to two distinct subtypes of Charcot-Marie-Tooth, with hypomyelination, altered intraperiod lines, and tomacula (thickened myelin). The tagged protein was incorporated into myelin and was associated with the morphological abnormalities. In vivo and in vitro experiments showed that P0myc retained partial adhesive function, and suggested that the transgene inhibits P0-mediated adhesion in a dominant-negative fashion. These mice suggest new mechanisms underlying both the pathogenesis of P0 ECD mutants and the normal interactions of P0 in the myelin sheath.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; myelin protein zero; tomacula; transgenic mice; Myc-tag
Dystroglycan (DG) is an extracellular matrix receptor implicated in muscular dystrophies and cancers. DG belongs to the membrane-tethered mucin family and is composed of extracellular (α-DG) and transmembrane (β-DG) subunits stably coupled at the cell surface. These two subunits are generated by autoproteolysis of a monomeric precursor within a distinctive protein motif called sea urchin–enterokinase–agrin (SEA) domain, yet the purpose of this cleavage and heterodimer creation is uncertain. In this study, we identify a functional nuclear localization signal within β-DG and show that, in addition to associating with α-DG at the cell surface, the full-length and glycosylated β-DG autonomously traffics to the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm in a process that occurs independent of α-DG ligand binding. The trafficking pattern of β-DG mirrors that of MUC1-C, the transmembrane subunit of the related MUC1 oncoprotein, also a heterodimeric membrane-tethered mucin created by SEA autoproteolysis. We show that the transmembrane subunits of both MUC1 and DG transit the secretory pathway prior to nuclear targeting and that their monomeric precursors maintain the capacity for nuclear trafficking. A screen of breast carcinoma cell lines of distinct pathophysiological origins revealed considerable variability in the nuclear partitioning of β-DG, indicating that nuclear localization of β-DG is regulated, albeit independent of extracellular ligand binding. These findings point to novel intracellular functions for β-DG, with possible disease implications. They also reveal an evolutionarily conserved role for SEA autoproteolysis, serving to enable independent functions of mucin transmembrane subunits, enacted by a shared and poorly understood pathway of segregated subunit trafficking.
The gp41 subunit of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) has been widely regarded as a type I transmembrane protein with a single membrane-spanning domain (MSD). An alternative topology model suggested multiple MSDs. The major discrepancy between the two models is that the cytoplasmic Kennedy sequence in the single MSD model is assigned as the extracellular loop accessible to neutralizing antibodies in the other model. We examined the membrane topology of the gp41 subunit in both prokaryotic and mammalian systems. We attached topological markers to the C-termini of serially truncated gp41. In the prokaryotic system, we utilized a green fluorescent protein (GFP) that is only active in the cytoplasm. The tag protein (HaloTag) and a membrane-impermeable ligand specific to HaloTag was used in the mammalian system.
In the absence of membrane fusion, both the prokaryotic and mammalian systems (293FT cells) supported the single MSD model. In the presence of membrane fusion in mammalian cells (293CD4 cells), the data obtained seem to support the multiple MSD model. However, the region predicted to be a potential MSD is the highly hydrophilic Kennedy sequence and is least likely to become a MSD based on several algorithms. Further analysis revealed the induction of membrane permeability during membrane fusion, allowing the membrane-impermeable ligand and antibodies to cross the membrane. Therefore, we cannot completely rule out the possible artifacts. Addition of membrane fusion inhibitors or alterations of the MSD sequence decreased the induction of membrane permeability.
It is likely that a single MSD model for HIV-1 gp41 holds true even in the presence of membrane fusion. The degree of the augmentation of membrane permeability we observed was dependent on the membrane fusion and sequence of the MSD.
The mammalian Slc11a1 and Slc11a2 proteins define a large family of secondary metal transporters. Slc11a1 and Slc11a2 function as pH-dependent divalent cation transporters that play a critical role in host defenses against infections and in Fe2+ homeostasis, respectively. The position and polarity of individual transmembrane domains (TMD) of Slc11a2 were studied by an epitope tagging method based on the insertion of small antigenic hemagglutinin A (HA) peptides (YPYDVPDYAS) in predicted intra- or extracellular loops of the protein. The tagged proteins were expressed in transfected LLC-PK1 kidney cells and tested for transport activity, and the polarity of inserted tags with respect to the plasma membrane was determined by immunofluorescence in intact and permeabilized cells. HA epitope tags were inserted at positions 1, 98, 131, 175, 201, 243, 284, 344, 403, 432, 468, 504, and 561. Insertions at positions 98, 131, 175, 403, and 432 abrogated metal transport by Slc11a2, while insertions at positions 1, 201, 243, 284, 344, 468, 504, and 561 resulted in functional proteins. Topology mapping in functional HA-tagged Slc11a2 proteins indicated that the N-terminus (1), as well as loops delineated by TMD4−5 (201), TMD6−7 (284), and TMD10−11 (468), and C-terminus (561) are intracellular, while loops separating TMD5−6 (243), TMD7−8 (344), and TMD11−12 (504) are extracellular. These results are compatible with a topology of 12 transmembrane domains, with intracellular amino and carboxy termini. Structural models constructed by homology threading support this 12TMD topology and show 2-fold structural symmetry in the arrangement of membrane helices for TM1−5 and TM6−10 (conserved Slc11 hydrophobic core).