Guided reconstitution of membrane protein fragments


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Structural analysis by NMR of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) has proven to be extremely challenging. To reduce the number of peaks in the NMR spectra by segmentally labeling a GPCR, we have developed a Guided Reconstitution method that includes the use of charged residues and Cys activation to drive heterodimeric disulfide bond formation. Three different cysteine-activating reagents: 5-5′-dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid) [DTNB], 2,2′-dithiobis(5-nitropyridine) [DTNP], and 4,4′-dipyridyl disulfide [4-PDS] were analyzed to determine their efficiency in heterodimer formation at different pHs. Short peptides representing the N-terminal (NT) and C-terminal (CT) regions of the first extracellular loop (EL1) of Ste2p, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae alpha-factor mating receptor, were activated using these reagents and the efficiencies of activation and rates of heterodimerization were analyzed. Activation of NT peptides with DTNP and 4-PDS resulted in about 60% yield, but heterodimerization was rapid and nearly quantitative. Double transmembrane domain protein fragments were biosynthesized and used in Guided Reconstitution reactions. A 102-residue fragment, 2TM-tail [Ste2p(G31-I120C)], was heterodimerized with CT-EL1-tailDTNP at pH 4.6 with a yield of ∼75%. A 132-residue fragment, 2TMlong-tail [Ste2p(M1-I120C)], was expressed in both unlabeled and 15N-labeled forms and used with a peptide comprising the third transmembrane domain, to generate a 180-residue segmentally labeled 3TM protein that was found to be segmentally labeled using [15N,1H]-HSQC analysis. Our data indicate that the Guided Reconstitution method would be applicable to the segmental labeling of a membrane protein with 3 transmembrane domains and may prove useful in the preparation of an intact reconstituted GPCR for use in biophysical analysis and structure determination. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers (Pept Sci) 102: 16–29, 2014.