Recombinant Dna Provides An Important Tool For Studying Enzymes

Recombinant DNA technology has emerged as an important asset in the study of enzymes. Highly purified samples of enzymes are necessary for the study of their structure and function. The isolation of an individual enzyme, particularly one present in low concentration, from among the thousands of proteins present in a cell can be extremely difficult. If the gene for the enzyme of interest has been cloned, it generally is possible to produce large quantities of its encoded protein in Escherichia coli or yeast. However, not all animal proteins can be expressed in active form in microbial cells, nor do microbes perform certain posttranslational processing tasks. For these reasons, a gene may be expressed in cultured animal cell systems employing the baculovirus expression vector to transform cultured insect cells. For more details concerning recombinant DNA techniques, see Chapter 40.

Recombinant Fusion Proteins Are Purified by Affinity Chromatography

Recombinant DNA technology can also be used to create modified proteins that are readily purified by affinity chromatography. The gene of interest is linked to an oligonucleotide sequence that encodes a carboxyl or amino terminal extension to the encoded protein. The resulting modified protein, termed a fusion protein, contains a domain tailored to interact with a specific affinity support. One popular approach is to attach an oligonucleotide that encodes six consecutive histidine residues. The expressed "His tag" protein binds to chromatographic supports that contain an immobilized divalent metal ion such as Ni2+. Alternatively, the substrate-binding domain of glutathione S-transferase (GST) can serve as a "GST tag." Figure 7-12 illustrates the purification of a GST-fusion protein using an affinity support containing bound glutathione. Fusion proteins also often encode a cleavage site for a highly specific protease such as thrombin in the region that links the two portions of the protein. This permits removal of the added fusion domain following affinity purification.

Site-Directed Mutagenesis Provides Mechanistic Insights

Once the ability to express a protein from its cloned gene has been established, it is possible to employ site-directed mutagenesis to change specific aminoacyl residues by altering their codons. Used in combination with kinetic analyses and x-ray crystallography, this approach facilitates identification of the specific roles of given aminoacyl residues in substrate binding and catalysis. For example, the inference that a particular aminoacyl residue functions as a general acid can be tested by replacing it with an aminoacyl residue incapable of donating a proton.

Transfect cells, add inducing agent, then break cells

Apply to glutathione (GSH) affinity column

Apply to glutathione (GSH) affinity column

Figure 7-12. Use of glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion proteins to purify recombinant proteins. (GSH, glutathione.)
Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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