Many different polypeptide fusion partners or affinity tags have been developed to facilitate purification of target proteins. The most commonly used tag for the purification and detection of recombinant expressed proteins is the His tag. Cloning vectors designed to generate His-tagged proteins contain 5–10 histidine residues at either the C- or N terminus of the expressed protein. The His tag adds only 0.84kDa to the mass of the protein and is nonimmunogenic. Also, because the tertiary structure of the tag is not important for purification, His-tagged proteins can be purified using native or denaturing conditions. The affinity of histidine residues for immobilized nickel allows selective purification of His-tagged proteins. The MagneHis™ Ni-Particles can bind up to 1mg of His-tagged protein per milliliter of particles providing a fast, efficient method for purifying His-tagged proteins with high yield and low background in a highly scalable format.
Bacterial expression of recombinant His-tagged proteins is a common technique. However, use of other systems, such as Sf9 insect cells,or HeLa or CHO mammalian cells for expression of recombinant proteins either intracellularly or secreted into the culture medium is increasing. These eukaryotic expression systems may allow more natural processing and modification of recombinant His-tagged proteins.
The following article: illustrates the use of FastBreak™ Cell Lysis Reagent and the MagneHis™ Protein Purification System with insect and mammalian cell lysates. Proteins are purified from culture medium in the presence or absence of serum with only minior modifications to the standard protocol for bacterial cultures are required for purification from these diverse sources.
Pull-down assays probe interactions between a protein of interest that is expressed as fusion protein (e.g.,
(e.g., bait) and the potential interacting partners (prey).
In a pull-down assay one protein partner is expressed as a fusion protein (e.g., bait protein) in E. coli and then immobilized using an affinity ligand specific for the fusion tag. The immobilized
bait protein can then be incubated with the prey protein. The source of the prey protein depends on whether the experiment is designed to confirm an interaction or to identify new interactions. After a series of wash steps, the entire complex can be eluted from the affinity support using SDS-PAGE loading buffer or by competitive analyte elution, then evaluated by SDS-PAGE.
Successful interactions can be detected by Western blotting with specific antibodies to both the prey and bait proteins, or measurement of radioactivity from a [35S] prey protein. bait) and potential interacting partners (prey).
The most commonly used method to generate a bait protein is expression as a fusion protein contain a GST (glutathione-S transferase) tag in E. coli. This is followed by immobilization on particles that contain reduced glutathione, which binds to the GST tag of the fusion protein. The primary advantage of a GST tag is that it can increase the solubility of insoluble or semi-soluble proteins expressed in E. coli.
Among fusion tags, His-tag is the most widely used and has several advantages including: 1) It’s small in size, which renders it less immunogenically active, and often it does not need to be removed from the purified protein for downstream applications; 2) There are a large number of commercial vectors available for expressing His-tagged proteins; 3) The tag may be placed at either the N or C terminus; 4) The interaction of the His-tag does not depend on the tag structure, making it possible to purify otherwise insoluble proteins using denaturing conditions. Continue reading “6X His Protein Pulldowns: An Alternative to GST”