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Design, Purification, and Analysis of Histamine Family Receptors for Crystallization

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G protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, are receptors located within the membrane of cells that elicit a wide array of cellular responses through their interactions with G proteins. Recent advances in

G protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, are receptors located within the membrane of cells that elicit a wide array of cellular responses through their interactions with G proteins. Recent advances in the use of lipid cubic phase (LCP) for the crystallization of GPCRs, as well as increased knowledge of techniques to improve receptor stability, have led to a large increase in the number of available GPCR structures, despite historic difficulties. This project is focused on the histamine family of receptors, which are Class A GPCRs that are involved in the body’s allergic and inflammatory responses. In particular, the goal of this project was to design, express, and purify histamine receptors with the ultimate goal of crystallization. Successive rounds of optimization included the use of recombinant DNA techniques in E.coli to truncate sections of the proteins and the insertion of several fusion partner proteins to improve receptor expression and stability. All constructs were expressed in a Bac-to-Bac baculovirus expression system using Sf9 insect cells, solubilized using n-Dodecyl-β-D-Maltoside (DDM), and purified using immobilized metal affinity chromatography. Constructs were then analyzed by SDS-Page, Western blot, and size-exclusion chromatography to determine their presence, purity, and homogeneity. Along with their expression data from insect cells, the most stable and homogeneous construct from each round was used to design successive optimizations. After 3 rounds of construct design for each receptor, much work remains to produce a stable sample that has the potential to crystallize. Future work includes further optimization of the insertion site of the fusion proteins, ligand screening for co-crystallization, optimization of purification conditions, and screening of potential thermostabilizing point mutations. Success in solving a structure will allow for a more detailed understanding of the receptor function in addition to its vital use in rational drug discovery.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12