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1.  Production and partial purification of membrane proteins using a liposome-supplemented wheat cell-free translation system 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:35.
Recently, some groups have reported on cell-free synthesis of functional membrane proteins (MPs) in the presence of exogenous liposomes (liposomes). Previously, we reported synthesis of a functional AtPPT1 plant phosphate transporter that was associated with liposomes during translation. However, it is unclear whether or not lipid/MP complex formation is common to all types of MPs in the wheat cell-free system.
AtPPT1 was synthesized using a wheat cell-free system with or without liposomes. AtPPT1 synthesized with liposomes showed high transport activity, but the activity of AtPPT1 synthesized without liposomes was less than 10% activity of that with liposomes. To test whether co-translational association with liposomes is observed in the synthesis of other MPs, we used 40 mammalian MPs having one to 14 transmembrane domains (TMDs) and five soluble proteins as a control. The association rate of all 40 MPs into liposomes was more than 40% (mean value: 59%), while that of the five soluble proteins was less than 20% (mean value: 12%). There were no significant differences in association rate among MPs regardless of the number of TMDs and synthesis yield. These results indicate that the wheat cell-free system is a highly productive method for lipid/MP complex formation and is suitable for large-scale preparation. The liposome association of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fusion MPs were also tested and recovered as lipid/MP complex after floatation by Accudenz density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGU). Employment of GFP-MPs revealed optimal condition for Accudenz floatation. Using the optimized Accudenz DGU condition, P2RX4/lipid complexes were partially purified and detected as a major band by Coomassie Brilliant Blue (CBB)-staining after SDS-PAGE.
Formation of lipid/AtPPT1 complex during the cell-free synthesis reaction is critical for synthesis of a functional MP. The lipid/MP complex during the translation was observed in all 40 MPs tested. At least 29 MPs, as judged by their higher productivity compared to GFP, might be suitable for a large-scale preparation. MPs synthesized by this method form lipid/MP complexes, which could be readily partially purified by Accudenz DGU. Wheat cell-free protein synthesis in the presence of liposomes will be a useful method for preparation of variety type of MPs.
PMCID: PMC3090341  PMID: 21481249
2.  Biotinylated-sortase self-cleavage purification (BISOP) method for cell-free produced proteins 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:42.
Technology used for the purification of recombinant proteins is a key issue for the biochemical and structural analyses of proteins. In general, affinity tags, such as glutathione-S-transferase or six-histidines, are used to purify recombinant proteins. Since such affinity tags often interfere negatively with the structural and functional analyses of proteins, they are usually removed by treatment with proteases. Previously, Dr. H. Mao reported self-cleavage purification of a target protein by fusing the sortase protein to its N-terminal end, and subsequently obtained tag-free recombinant protein following expression in Escherichia coli. This method, however, is yet to be applied to the cell-free based protein production.
The histidine tag-based self-cleavage method for purifying proteins produced by the wheat cell-free protein synthesis system showed high background, low recovery, and unexpected cleavage between the N-terminally fused sortase and target protein during the protein synthesis. Addition of calcium chelator BAPTA to the cell-free reaction inhibited the cleavage. In order to adapt the sortase-based purification method to the cell-free system, we next used biotin as the affinity tag. The biotinylated sortase self-cleavage purification (BISOP) method provided tag-free, highly purified proteins due to improved recovery of proteins from the resin. The N-terminal sequence analysis of the GFP produced by the BISOP method revealed that the cleavage indeed occurred at the right cleavage site. Using this method, we also successfully purified the E2 heterocomplex of USE2N and USE2v1. The c-terminal src kinase (CSK) obtained by the BISOP method showed high activity in phosphorylating the Src protein. Furthermore, we demonstrated that this method is suitable for automatically synthesizing and purifying proteins using robots.
We demonstrated that the newly developed BISOP method is very useful for obtaining high quality, tag-free recombinant proteins, produced using the cell-free system, for biochemical and structural analyses.
PMCID: PMC2901362  PMID: 20525307
3.  A set of ligation-independent in vitro translation vectors for eukaryotic protein production 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:32.
The last decade has brought the renaissance of protein studies and accelerated the development of high-throughput methods in all aspects of proteomics. Presently, most protein synthesis systems exploit the capacity of living cells to translate proteins, but their application is limited by several factors. A more flexible alternative protein production method is the cell-free in vitro protein translation. Currently available in vitro translation systems are suitable for high-throughput robotic protein production, fulfilling the requirements of proteomics studies. Wheat germ extract based in vitro translation system is likely the most promising method, since numerous eukaryotic proteins can be cost-efficiently synthesized in their native folded form. Although currently available vectors for wheat embryo in vitro translation systems ensure high productivity, they do not meet the requirements of state-of-the-art proteomics. Target genes have to be inserted using restriction endonucleases and the plasmids do not encode cleavable affinity purification tags.
We designed four ligation independent cloning (LIC) vectors for wheat germ extract based in vitro protein translation. In these constructs, the RNA transcription is driven by T7 or SP6 phage polymerase and two TEV protease cleavable affinity tags can be added to aid protein purification. To evaluate our improved vectors, a plant mitogen activated protein kinase was cloned in all four constructs. Purification of this eukaryotic protein kinase demonstrated that all constructs functioned as intended: insertion of PCR fragment by LIC worked efficiently, affinity purification of translated proteins by GST-Sepharose or MagneHis particles resulted in high purity kinase, and the affinity tags could efficiently be removed under different reaction conditions. Furthermore, high in vitro kinase activity testified of proper folding of the purified protein.
Four newly designed in vitro translation vectors have been constructed which allow fast and parallel cloning and protein purification, thus representing useful molecular tools for high-throughput production of eukaryotic proteins.
PMCID: PMC2311287  PMID: 18371187

Results 1-3 (3)