Lipid-like Peptides can Stabilize Integral Membrane Proteins for Biophysical and Structural Studies.
ABSTRACT: A crucial bottleneck in membrane protein structural biology is the difficulty in identifying a detergent that can maintain the stability and functionality of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). Detergents are poor membrane mimics, and their common use in membrane protein crystallography may be one reason for the challenges in obtaining high-resolution crystal structures of many IMP families. Lipid-like peptides (LLPs) have detergent-like properties and have been proposed as alternatives for the solubilization of G?protein-coupled receptors and other membrane proteins. Here, we systematically analyzed the stabilizing effect of LLPs on integral membrane proteins of different families. We found that LLPs could significantly stabilize detergent-solubilized IMPs in vitro. This stabilizing effect depended on the chemical nature of the LLP and the intrinsic stability of a particular IMP in the detergent. Our results suggest that screening a subset of LLPs is sufficient to stabilize a particular IMP, which can have a substantial impact on the crystallization and quality of the crystal.
Project description:We designed ?-strand peptides that stabilize integral membrane proteins (IMPs). ?-strand peptides self-assemble in solution as filaments and become restructured upon association with IMPs; resulting IMP-?-strand peptide complexes resisted aggregation when diluted in detergent-free buffer and were visible as stable, single particles with low detergent background in electron micrographs. ?-strand peptides enabled clear visualization of flexible conformations in the highly dynamic ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter MsbA.
Project description:Nanodiscs and isotropic bicelles are promising membrane mimetics in the field of solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). Despite varied challenges to solution NMR studies of IMPs, we attribute the paucity of solution NMR structures in these environments to the inability of diverse IMPs to withstand detergent treatment during standard nanodisc and bicelle preparations. Here, we present a strategy that creates small isotropic bicelles from IMPs co-translationally embedded in large nanodiscs using cell-free expression. Our results demonstrate appreciable gains in NMR spectral quality while preserving lipid-IMP contacts. We validate the approach on the detergent-sensitive LspA, which finally allowed us to perform high-quality triple-resonance NMR experiments for structural studies. Our strategy of producing bicelles from nanodiscs comprehensively avoids detergent during expression and preparation and is suitable for solution NMR spectroscopy of lipid-IMP complexes.
Project description:Protein stability in detergent or membrane-like environments is the bottleneck for structural studies on integral membrane proteins (IMP). Irrespective of the method to study the structure of an IMP, detergent solubilization from the membrane is usually the first step in the workflow. Here, we establish a simple, high-throughput screening method to identify optimal detergent conditions for membrane protein stabilization. We apply differential scanning fluorimetry in combination with scattering upon thermal denaturation to study the unfolding of integral membrane proteins. Nine different prokaryotic and eukaryotic membrane proteins were used as test cases to benchmark our detergent screening method. Our results show that it is possible to measure the stability and solubility of IMPs by diluting them from their initial solubilization condition into different detergents. We were able to identify groups of detergents with characteristic stabilization and destabilization effects for selected targets. We further show that fos-choline and PEG family detergents may lead to membrane protein destabilization and unfolding. Finally, we determined thenmodynamic parameters that are important indicators of IMP stability. The described protocol allows the identification of conditions that are suitable for downstream handling of membrane proteins during purification.
Project description:Persistent hurdles impede the successful determination of high-resolution crystal structures of eukaryotic integral membrane proteins (IMP). We designed a high-throughput structural genomics oriented pipeline that seeks to minimize effort in uncovering high-quality, responsive non-redundant targets for crystallization. This "discovery-oriented" pipeline sidesteps two significant bottlenecks in the IMP structure determination pipeline: expression and membrane extraction with detergent. In addition, proteins that enter the pipeline are then rapidly vetted by their presence in the included volume on a size-exclusion column--a hallmark of well-behaved IMP targets. A screen of 384 rationally selected eukaryotic IMPs in baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is outlined to demonstrate the results expected when applying this discovery-oriented pipeline to whole-organism membrane proteomes.
Project description:Detergent interaction with extramembranous soluble domains (ESDs) is not commonly considered an important determinant of integral membrane protein (IMP) behavior during purification and crystallization, even though ESDs contribute to the stability of many IMPs. Here we demonstrate that some generally nondenaturing detergents critically destabilize a model ESD, the first nucleotide-binding domain (NBD1) from the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), a model IMP. Notably, the detergents show equivalent trends in their influence on the stability of isolated NBD1 and full-length CFTR. We used differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy to monitor changes in NBD1 stability and secondary structure, respectively, during titration with a series of detergents. Their effective harshness in these assays mirrors that widely accepted for their interaction with IMPs, i.e., anionic?>?zwitterionic?>?nonionic. It is noteworthy that including lipids or nonionic detergents is shown to mitigate detergent harshness, as will limiting contact time. We infer three thermodynamic mechanisms from the observed thermal destabilization by monomer or micelle: (i) binding to the unfolded state with no change in the native structure (all detergent classes); (ii) native state binding that alters thermodynamic properties and perhaps conformation (nonionic detergents); and (iii) detergent binding that directly leads to denaturation of the native state (anionic and zwitterionic). These results demonstrate that the accepted model for the harshness of detergents applies to their interaction with an ESD. It is concluded that destabilization of extramembranous soluble domains by specific detergents will influence the stability of some IMPs during purification.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) play crucial roles in all cells and represent attractive pharmacological targets. However, functional and structural studies of IMPs are hindered by their hydrophobic nature and the fact that they are generally unstable following extraction from their native membrane environment using detergents. Here we devise a general strategy for in vivo solubilization of IMPs in structurally relevant conformations without the need for detergents or mutations to the IMP itself, as an alternative to extraction and in vitro solubilization. This technique, called SIMPLEx (solubilization of IMPs with high levels of expression), allows the direct expression of soluble products in living cells by simply fusing an IMP target with truncated apolipoprotein A-I, which serves as an amphipathic proteic 'shield' that sequesters the IMP from water and promotes its solubilization.
Project description:The understanding of integral membrane protein (IMP) structure and function is hampered by the difficulty of handling these proteins. Aqueous solubilization, necessary for many types of biophysical analysis, generally requires a detergent to shield the large lipophilic surfaces of native IMPs. Many proteins remain difficult to study owing to a lack of suitable detergents. We introduce a class of amphiphiles, each built around a central quaternary carbon atom derived from neopentyl glycol, with hydrophilic groups derived from maltose. Representatives of this maltose-neopentyl glycol (MNG) amphiphile family show favorable behavior relative to conventional detergents, as manifested in multiple membrane protein systems, leading to enhanced structural stability and successful crystallization. MNG amphiphiles are promising tools for membrane protein science because of the ease with which they may be prepared and the facility with which their structures may be varied.
Project description:Highly hydrophobic integral membrane proteins (IMPs)are typically purified in excess detergent media, often resulting in rapid inactivation and denaturation of the protein. One promising approach to solve this problem is to couple hydrophilic polymers, such as monomethoxypolyethylene glycol (mPEG) to IMPs under mild conditions in place of detergents. However, the broad application of this approach is hampered by poor reaction efficiencies, low tolerance of detergent stabilized membrane proteins to reaction conditions, and a lack of proper site-specific reversible approaches. Here, we have developed a straightforward, efficient, and mild approach to site-specific noncovalent binding of long-chain polymers to recombinant IMPs. This method uses the hexa-histidine tag (His-Tag) often used for purification of recombinant proteins as an attachment site for mPEGs. Solubility studies performed using five different IMPs confirmed that all tested mPEG-bound IMPs were completely soluble and stable in detergent free aqueous buffer compared to their precipitated native proteins under the identical circumstances. Activity assays and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy confirmed the structural integrity of modified IMPs.
Project description:The Profiles-3D application, an inverse-folding methodology appropriate for water-soluble proteins, has been modified to allow the determination of structural properties of integral-membrane proteins (IMPs) and for testing the validity of solved and model structures of IMPs. The modification, known as reverse-environment prediction of integral membrane protein structure (REPIMPS), takes into account the fact that exposed areas of side chains for many residues in IMPs are in contact with lipid and not the aqueous phase. This (1) allows lipid-exposed residues to be classified into the correct physicochemical environment class, (2) significantly improves compatibility scores for IMPs whose structures have been solved, and (3) reduces the possibility of rejecting a three-dimensional structure for an IMP because the presence of lipid was not included. Validation tests of REPIMPS showed that it (1) can locate the transmembrane domain of IMPs with single transmembrane helices more frequently than a range of other methodologies, (2) can rotationally orient transmembrane helices with respect to the lipid environment and surrounding helices in IMPs with multiple transmembrane helices, and (3) has the potential to accurately locate transmembrane domains in IMPs with multiple transmembrane helices. We conclude that correcting for the presence of the lipid environment surrounding the transmembrane segments of IMPs is an essential step for reasonable modeling and verification of the three-dimensional structures of these proteins.
Project description:Attempts to characterize recombinant integral membrane proteins (IMPs) by mass spectrometry are frequently hindered by several factors including the detergents required for extraction and purification that interferes with analysis, poor solubility, incomplete digestion, and limited identification of the transmembrane domain-spanning peptides. The goal of this study was to examine and develop methods for purification of an IMP that are amenable to downstream digestion of the protein and peptide analysis by mass spectrometry. In this study, we have overexpressed a candidate IMP, the vesicular glutamate transporter 1 (VGLUT1) in Pichia pastoris and examined conditions for the efficient affinity purification, in-solution digestion, and analysis of the protein. Analysis of the intact purified protein without detergent was performed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. The purified IMP was digested with trypsin, and the resulting peptides were identified. A method that utilizes differential solubility and ionization properties of hydrophobic and hydrophilic peptides was developed. Large hydrophobic peptides were only detected in solutions containing 50% formic acid. Ionization of hydrophilic peptides was suppressed in formic acid, but they produced a strong signal in 50% acetonitrile. Eighty-seven percent sequence coverage of the protein was obtained with only one large hydrophobic peptide that remained unidentified. The results demonstrate a simple method to purify and digest a recombinant IMP for analysis by mass spectrometry.