A systematic approach for testing expression of human full-length proteins in cell-free expression systems.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The growing field of proteomics and systems biology is resulting in an ever increasing demand for purified recombinant proteins for structural and functional studies. Here, we show a systematic approach to successfully express a full-length protein of interest by using cell-free and cell-based expression systems. RESULTS: In a pre-screen, we evaluated the expression of 960 human full-length open reading frames in Escherichia coli (in vivo and in vitro). After analysing the protein expression rate and solubility, we chose a subset of 87 plasmids yielding no protein product in E. coli in vivo. These targets were subjected to a more detailed analysis comparing a prokaryotic cell-free E. coli system with an eukaryotic wheat germ system. In addition, we determined the expression rate, yield and solubility of those proteins. After sequence optimisation for the E. coli in vitro system and generating linear templates for wheat germ expression, the success rate of cell-free protein expression reached 93%. CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated that protein expression in cell-free systems is an appropriate technology for the successful expression of soluble full-length proteins. In our study, wheat germ expression using a two compartment system is the method of choice as it shows high solubility and high protein yield.
Project description:Vectors designed for protein production in Escherichia coli and by wheat germ cell-free translation were tested using 21 well-characterized eukaryotic proteins chosen to serve as controls within the context of a structural genomics pipeline. The controls were carried through cloning, small-scale expression trials, large-scale growth or synthesis, and purification. Successfully purified proteins were also subjected to either crystallization trials or (1)H-(15)N HSQC NMR analyses. Experiments evaluated: (1) the relative efficacy of restriction/ligation and recombinational cloning systems; (2) the value of maltose-binding protein (MBP) as a solubility enhancement tag; (3) the consequences of in vivo proteolysis of the MBP fusion as an alternative to post-purification proteolysis; (4) the effect of the level of LacI repressor on the yields of protein obtained from E. coli using autoinduction; (5) the consequences of removing the His tag from proteins produced by the cell-free system; and (6) the comparative performance of E. coli cells or wheat germ cell-free translation. Optimal promoter/repressor and fusion tag configurations for each expression system are discussed.
Project description:Recombinant expression of proteins of interest in Escherichia coli is an important tool in the determination of protein structure. However, lack of expression and insolubility remain significant challenges to the expression and crystallization of these proteins. The SSGCID program uses a wheat germ cell-free expression system as a rescue pathway for proteins that are either not expressed or insoluble when produced in E. coli. Testing indicates that the system is a valuable tool for these protein targets. Further increases in solubility were obtained by the addition of the NVoy polymer reagent to the reaction mixture. These data indicate that this eukaryotic cell-free expression system has a high success rate and that the addition of specific reagents can increase the yield of soluble protein.
Project description:Wheat germ cell-free methods provide an important approach for the production of eukaryotic proteins. We have developed a protein expression vector for the TNT((R)) SP6 High-Yield Wheat Germ Cell-Free (TNT WGCF) expression system (Promega) that is also compatible with our T7-based Escherichia coli intracellular expression vector pET15_NESG. This allows cloning of the same PCR product into either one of several pET_NESG vectors and this modified WGCF vector (pWGHisAmp) by In-Fusion LIC cloning (Zhu et al. in Biotechniques 43:354-359, 2007). Integration of these two vector systems allowed us to explore the efficacy of the TNT WGCF system by comparing the expression and solubility characteristics of 59 human protein constructs in both WGCF and pET15_NESG E. coli intracellular expression. While only 30% of these human proteins could be produced in soluble form using the pET15_NESG based system, some 70% could be produced in soluble form using the TNT WGCF system. This high success rate underscores the importance of eukaryotic expression host systems like the TNT WGCF system for eukaryotic protein production in a structural genomics sample production pipeline. To further demonstrate the value of this WGCF system in producing protein suitable for structural studies, we scaled up, purified, and analyzed by 2D NMR two (15)N-, (13)C-enriched human proteins. The results of this study indicate that the TNT WGCF system is a successful salvage pathway for producing samples of difficult-to-express small human proteins for NMR studies, providing an important complementary pathway for eukaryotic sample production in the NESG NMR structure production pipeline.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In vitro cell-free systems for protein expression with extracts from prokaryotic (Escherichia coli) or eukaryotic (wheat germ) cells coupled to solid matrices have offered a valid approach for antigen discovery in malaria research. However, no comparative analysis of both systems is presently available nor the usage of suspension array technologies, which offer nearly solution phase kinetics. METHODS: Five Plasmodium vivax antigens representing leading vaccine candidates were expressed in the E. coli and wheat germ cell-free systems at a 50 ?l scale. Products were affinity purified in a single-step and coupled to luminex beads to measure antibody reactivity of human immune sera. RESULTS: Both systems readily produced detectable proteins; proteins produced in wheat germ, however, were mostly soluble and intact as opposed to proteins produced in E. coli, which remained mostly insoluble and highly degraded. Noticeably, wheat germ proteins were recognized in significantly higher numbers by sera of P. vivax patients than identical proteins produced in E. coli. CONCLUSIONS: The wheat germ cell-free system offers the possibility of expressing soluble P. vivax proteins in a small-scale for antigen discovery and immuno-epidemiological studies using suspension array technology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Protein-based microarray platforms offer considerable promise as high-throughput technologies in proteomics. Particular advantages are provided by self-assembling protein microarrays and much interest centers around analysis of eukaryotic proteins and their molecular interactions. Efficient cell-free protein synthesis is paramount for the production of self-assembling protein microarrays, requiring optimal transcription, translation, and protein folding. The Escherichia coli S30 extract demonstrates high translation rates but lacks the protein-folding efficiency of its eukaryotic counterparts derived from rabbit reticulocyte and wheat germ extract. In comparison to E. coli, eukaryotic extracts, on the other hand, exhibit slower translation rates and poor overall protein yields. A cell-free expression system that synthesizes folded eukaryotic proteins in considerable yields would optimize in vitro translation for protein microarray assembly. RESULTS:Self-assembling autofluorescent protein microarrays were produced by in situ transcription and translation of chimeric proteins containing a C-terminal Green Fluorescent Protein tag. Proteins were immobilized as array elements using an anti-GFP monoclonal antibody. The amounts of correctly-folded chimeric proteins were quantified by measuring the fluorescence intensity from each array element. During cell-free expression, very little or no fluorescence was observed from GFP-tagged multidomain eukaryotic plant proteins when in vitro translation was performed with E. coli S30 extract. Improvement was seen using wheat germ extract, but fluorescence intensities were still low because of poor protein yields. A hybrid in vitro translation system, combining S30 and wheat germ extracts, produced high levels of correctly-folded proteins for most of the constructs that were tested. CONCLUSION:The results are consistent with the hypothesis that the wheat germ extract enhances the protein folding capabilities of the in vitro system by providing eukaryotic ribosomes and chaperones and, at the same time, the E. coli S30 extract, which includes an ATP regeneration system, translates the polypeptides at high rates. This hybrid cell-free expression system allows the facile production of high-yield protein arrays suitable for downstream assays.
Project description:There are many proteomic applications that require large collections of purified protein, but parallel production of large numbers of different proteins remains a very challenging task. To help meet the needs of the scientific community, we have developed a human protein production pipeline. Using high-throughput (HT) methods, we transferred the genes of 31 full-length proteins into three expression vectors, and expressed the collection as N-terminal HaloTag fusion proteins in Escherichia coli and two commercial cell-free (CF) systems, wheat germ extract (WGE) and HeLa cell extract (HCE). Expression was assessed by labeling the fusion proteins specifically and covalently with a fluorescent HaloTag ligand and detecting its fluorescence on a LabChip(®) GX microfluidic capillary gel electrophoresis instrument. This automated, HT assay provided both qualitative and quantitative assessment of recombinant protein. E. coli was only capable of expressing 20% of the test collection in the supernatant fraction with ?20 ?g yields, whereas CF systems had ?83% success rates. We purified expressed proteins using an automated HaloTag purification method. We purified 20, 33, and 42% of the test collection from E. coli, WGE, and HCE, respectively, with yields ?1 ?g and ?90% purity. Based on these observations, we have developed a triage strategy for producing full-length human proteins in these three expression systems.
Project description:Completion of human genome sequencing has greatly accelerated functional genomic research. Full-length cDNA clones are essential experimental tools for functional analysis of human genes. In one of the projects of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in Japan, the full-length human cDNA sequencing project (FLJ project), nucleotide sequences of approximately 30 000 human cDNA clones have been analyzed. The Gateway system is a versatile framework to construct a variety of expression clones for various experiments. We have constructed 33 275 human Gateway entry clones from full-length cDNAs, representing to our knowledge the largest collection in the world. Utilizing these clones with a highly efficient cell-free protein synthesis system based on wheat germ extract, we have systematically and comprehensively produced and analyzed human proteins in vitro. Sequence information for both amino acids and nucleotides of open reading frames of cDNAs cloned into Gateway entry clones and in vitro expression data using those clones can be retrieved from the Human Gene and Protein Database (HGPD, http://www.HGPD.jp). HGPD is a unique database that stores the information of a set of human Gateway entry clones and protein expression data and helps the user to search the Gateway entry clones.
Project description:Obtaining high yields of membrane proteins necessary to perform detailed structural study is difficult due to poor solubility and variability in yields from heterologous expression systems. To address this issue, an Escherichia coli-based membrane protein overexpression system utilizing an engineered bacterial outer membrane protein F (pOmpF) fusion has been developed. Full-length human receptor activity-modifying protein 1 (RAMP1) was expressed using pOmpF, solubilized in FC15 and purified to homogeneity. Using circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy, purified full-length RAMP1 is composed of approximately 90% ?-helix, and retains its solubility and structure in FC15 over a wide range of temperatures (20-60°C). Thus, our approach provides a useful, complementary approach to achieve high-yield, full-length membrane protein overexpression for biophysical studies.
Project description:1. Poly(A)-containing RNA was isolated from the nuclei of mammary gland, liver and brain of lactating guinea pigs. 2. Total nuclear poly(A)-containing RNA from mammary gland inhibited mRNA-directed protein synthesis by a wheat-germ cell-free system. It also inhibited the endogenous activity of the wheat-germ and other cell-free systems. It did not inhibit a wheat-germ cell-free system directed by poly(U). 3. Total nuclear poly(A)-containing RNA from liver and brain did not inhibit the mRNA-directed wheat-germ system. 4. Fractionation of the nuclear poly(A)-containing RNA revealed inhibitory activity in the less than 10 S fraction from mammary gland as well as that from liver and brain. 5. The mechanism of protein-synthesis inhibition appeared to be at the level of elongation. 6. The inhibitory activity could be reversed in a wheat-germ system by increasing the amount of S-30 supernatant. 7. The mechanism of inhibition of protein synthesis is discussed in relation to other RNA species known to inhibit such systems.
Project description:Expression levels in animal muscle tissues and in Escherichia coli vary widely for naturally occurring mammalian myoglobins (Mb). To explore this variation, we developed an in vitro transcription and wheat germ extract-based translation assay to examine quantitatively the factors that govern expression of holoMb. We constructed a library of naturally occurring Mbs from two terrestrial and four deep-diving aquatic mammals and three distal histidine mutants designed to enhance apoglobin stability but decrease hemin affinity. A strong linear correlation is observed between cell-free expression levels of holo-metMb variants and their corresponding apoglobin stabilities, which were measured independently by guanidine HCl-induced unfolding titrations using purified proteins. In contrast, there is little dependence of expression on hemin affinity. Our results confirm quantitatively that deep diving mammals have highly stable Mbs that express to higher levels in animal myocytes, E. coli, and the wheat germ cell-free system than Mbs from terrestrial mammals. Our theoretical analyses show that the rate of aggregation of unfolded apoMb is very large, and as a result, the key factor for high level expression of holoMb, and presumably other heme proteins, is an ultra high fraction of folded, native apoglobin that is capable of rapidly binding hemin. This fraction is determined by the overall equilibrium folding constant and not hemin affinity. These results also demonstrate that the cell-free transcription/translation system can be used as a high throughput platform to screen for apoglobin stability without the need to generate large amounts of protein for in vitro unfolding measurements.