Microbiology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 668 Views Sep 5, 2022

The incorporation of non-standard amino acids (nsAAs) within proteins and peptides through genetic code expansion introduces novel chemical functionalities such as photo-crosslinking and bioconjugation. Given the utility of Bacillus subtilis in fundamental and applied science, we extended existing nsAA incorporation technology from Escherichia coli into B. subtilis, demonstrating incorporation of 20 unique nsAAs. The nsAAs we succeeded in incorporating within proteins conferred properties that included fluorescence, photo-crosslinking, and metal chelation. Here, we describe the reagents, equipment, and protocols to test for nsAA incorporation at a small scale (96-well plate and culture tube scales). We report specific media requirements for certain nsAAs, including two variants for different media conditions. Our protocol provides a consistent and reproducible method for incorporation of a chemically diverse set of nsAAs into a model Gram-positive organism.

0 Q&A 2422 Views Dec 20, 2021

Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) (or lipooligosaccharides [LOS], which lack the O-antigen side chains characteristic of LPS), and outer membrane proteins (OMP) are major cell-surface molecules in the outer membrane (OM) of gram-negative bacteria. The LPS is responsible for causing endotoxic shock in infected hosts and, in conjunction with some OMPs, provides protection to the bacterium against host innate immune defenses and attachment to host cells. Electrophoretic analysis can provide valuable information regarding the size, number, and variability of LPS/LOS and OMP components between bacterial strains and mutants, which aids in understanding the basic biology and virulence factors of a particular species. Furthermore, highly purified extracts are normally not required if only electrophoretic analysis is to be done, and various methods have been established for such procedures. Here, we review ameliorated procedures for fast and convenient extraction of LPS/LOS and protein-enriched outer membranes (PEOM) for optimal electrophoretic resolution. Specifically, we will describe the phenol-based micro-method for LPS/LOS extraction, a differential extraction procedure with sodium lauryl sarcosinate for PEOM, and gel preparation for electrophoretic analysis of LPS/LOS samples in detail.


Graphic abstract:



Workflow for the preparation and analysis of LPS/LOS and PEOM.


0 Q&A 3264 Views Nov 5, 2021

Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled eukaryotic parasite that chronically infects a quarter of the global population. In recent years, phenotypic screens have identified compounds that block parasite replication. Unraveling the pathways and molecular mechanisms perturbed by such compounds requires target deconvolution. In parasites, such deconvolution has been achieved via chemogenomic approaches—for example, directed evolution followed by whole-genome sequencing or genome-wide knockout screens. As a proteomic alternative that directly probes the physical interaction between compound and protein, thermal proteome profiling (TPP), also known as the cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), recently emerged as a method to identify small molecule–target interactions in living cells and cell extracts in a variety of organisms, including unicellular eukaryotic pathogens. Ligand binding induces a thermal stability shift—stabilizing or destabilizing proteins that change conformationally in response to the ligand—that can be measured by mass spectrometry (MS). Cells are incubated with different concentrations of ligand and heated, causing thermal denaturation of proteins. The soluble protein is extracted and quantified with multiplexed, quantitative MS, resulting in thousands of thermal denaturation profiles. Proteins engaging the ligand can be identified by their compound-dependent thermal shift. The protocol provided here can be used to identify ligand-target interactions and assess the impact of environmental or genetic perturbations on the thermal stability of the proteome in T. gondii and other eukaryotic pathogens.


Graphic abstract:



Thermal proteome profiling for target identification in the apicomplexan parasite T. gondii.


0 Q&A 4442 Views May 20, 2021

Pore-forming toxins (PFTs) have been discovered in a wide range of organisms. Their functions are essential to the survival or virulence of many species. PFTs often interact with lipid membranes. Large unilamellar vesicles (LUV), also known as liposomes, have been commonly used as reliable membrane models for testing PFTs activity. Liposomes have great adaptability in size, lipid composition, and loading cargo. Incorporating the fluorescent dye/quencher pair, 8-Aminonaphthalene-1,3,6-Trisulfonic Acid (ANTS) and p-Xylene-Bis-Pyridinium Bromide (DPX), in liposomes is an effective approach for measuring membrane leakage. When ANTS and DPX are encapsulated in a liposome, the fluorescence of ANTS is quenched by DPX. However, disruption of liposome integrity and subsequent leakage result in measurable fluorescence emitted by ANTS. Here, we report our protocol for optimal liposome preparation for measuring liposome leakage by fluorescence dequenching.

0 Q&A 3437 Views May 5, 2021

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is emerging as an important modulator in bacterial cytoprotection against the host immune response in infected animals, which may well be attributed to downstream highly oxidized sulfur species, termed reactive sulfur species (RSS), derived from H2S. One mechanism by which H2S/RSS may signal in the cell is through proteome S-sulfuration (persulfidation), which is the conversion of protein thiols (-SH) to protein persulfides (-SSH). While several analytical methods have been developed to profile sites of protein persulfidation, few have been applied to bacterial cells. The analytical workflow presented here was recently utilized to profile proteome persulfidation in the major human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii treated with an exogenous sulfide source, Na2S. The data obtained using this protocol allow quantitation of the change in persulfidation status of each cysteine in the proteome normalized to the change in protein abundance, thus identifying sites of persulfidation that may constitute regulatory modifications. These can be validated using follow-up biochemical studies.

0 Q&A 3226 Views Jan 5, 2020
We have adapted a previous procedure and improved an approach that we named yChEFs (yeast Chromatin Enriched Fractions) for purifying chromatin fractions. This methodology allows the easy, reproducible and scalable recovery of proteins associated with chromatin. By using yChEFs, we bypass subcellular fractionation requirements involved when using zymolyase to obtain the spheroplast, which is employed in many other procedures. Employing small amount of culture cells and small volumes of solutions during the yChEFs procedure is very useful to allow many samples to be handled at the same time, and also reduces costs and efforts. The purified proteins associated with chromatin fractions obtained by yChEFs can be analyzed by Western blot (Figure 1) or combined with mass spectrometry for proteomic analyses.
0 Q&A 4890 Views Jul 20, 2019
The correct subcellular localization of proteins is vital for cellular function and the study of this process at the systems level will therefore enrich our understanding of the roles of proteins within the cell. Multiple methods are available for the study of protein subcellular localization, including fluorescence microscopy, organelle cataloging, proximity labeling methods, and whole-cell protein correlation profiling methods. We provide here a protocol for the systems-level study of the subcellular localization of the yeast proteome, using a version of hyperplexed Localization of Organelle Proteins by Isotope Tagging (hyperLOPIT) that has been optimized for use with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The entire protocol encompasses cell culture, cell lysis by nitrogen cavitation, subcellular fractionation, monitoring of the fractionation using Western blotting, labeling of samples with TMT isobaric tags and mass spectrometric analysis. Also included is a brief explanation of downstream processing of the mass spectrometry data to produce a map of the spatial proteome. If required, the nitrogen cavitation lysis and Western blotting portions of the protocol may be performed independently of the mass spectrometry analysis. The protocol in its entirety, however, enables the unbiased, systems-level and high-resolution analysis of the localizations of thousands of proteins in parallel within a single experiment.
0 Q&A 5375 Views May 20, 2019
Current mass spectrometry (MS) methods and new instrumentation now allow for more accurate identification of proteins in low abundance than previous protein fractionation and identification methods. It was of interest if this method could serve to define the virus proteome of a membrane-containing virus. To evaluate the efficacy of mass spec to determine the proteome of medically important viruses, Sindbis virus (SINV), the prototypical alphavirus was chosen for evaluation. This model system was chosen specifically because the alphaviruses contain members which are human pathogens, this virus is well defined biochemically and structurally, and grows to high titers in both vertebrate and non-vertebrate host cells. The SINV proteome was investigated using this method to determine if host proteins are specifically packaged into infectious virions. It was also of interest if the SINV proteome, when grown in multiple host cells representing vertebrate and mosquito hosts, incorporated specific host proteins from all hosts. Observation of recurrent or distinctive proteins in the virus proteome aided in the determination of proteins incorporated into the virion as opposed to those bound to the particle exterior. Mass spectrometry analysis identified the total protein content of purified virions within limits of detection. The most significant finding was that in addition to the host proteins, SINV non-structural protein 2 (nsP2) was detected within virions grown in all host cells examined. This analysis identified host factors not previously associated with alphavirus entry, replication, or egress, identifying at least one host factor integrally involved in alphavirus replication. Key to the success of this analysis is the method of virus purification which must deliver measurably infectious virus free of high levels of contaminants. For SINV and other members of the alphavirus family, this is accomplished by isopycnic centrifugation through potassium tartrate, followed by a high salt wash.
0 Q&A 6498 Views Oct 20, 2018
Aptamers have emerged as a novel category in the field of bioreceptors due to their wide applications ranging from biosensing to therapeutics. Several variations of their screening process, called SELEX have been reported which can yield sequences with desired properties needed for their final use. We report a facile microtiter plate-based Cell-SELEX method for a gram-negative bacteria E. coli. The optimized protocol allows the reduction of number of rounds for SELEX by offering higher surface area and longer retention times. In addition, this protocol can be modified for other prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and glycan moieties as target for generation of high affinity bio-receptors in a short course of time in-vitro.
0 Q&A 10464 Views Mar 20, 2018
Defining protein interaction networks can provide key insights into how protein complexes govern complex biological problems. Here we define a method for proximity based labeling using permissive biotin ligase to define protein networks in the intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. When combined with CRISPR/Cas9 based tagging, this method provides a robust approach to defining protein networks. This approach detects interaction within intact cells, it is applicable to both soluble and insoluble components, including large proteins complexes that interact with the cytoskeleton and unique microtubule organizing center that comprises the apical complex in apicomplexan parasites.



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