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Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 71, Issue 4, pp 263–273 | Cite as

Improving yields of deuterated, methyl labeled protein by growing in H2O

  • Evan S. O’Brien
  • Danny W. Lin
  • Brian Fuglestad
  • Matthew A. Stetz
  • Travis Gosse
  • Cecilia Tommos
  • A. Joshua Wand
Article

Abstract

Solution NMR continues to make strides in addressing protein systems of significant size and complexity. A fundamental requirement to fully exploit the 15N–1H TROSY and 13C–1H3 methyl TROSY effects is highly deuterated protein. Unfortunately, traditional overexpression in Escherichia coli (E. coli) during growth on media prepared in D2O leads to many difficulties and limitations, such as cell toxicity, decreased yield, and the need to unfold or destabilize proteins for back exchange of amide protons. These issues are exacerbated for non-ideal systems such as membrane proteins. Expression of protein during growth in H2O, with the addition of 2H-labeled amino acids derived from algal extract, can potentially avoid these issues. We demonstrate a novel fermentation methodology for high-density bacterial growth in H2O M9 medium that allows for appropriate isotopic labeling and deuteration. Yields are significantly higher than those achieved in D2O M9 for a variety of protein targets while still achieving 75–80% deuteration. Because the procedure does not require bulk D2O or deuterated glucose, the cost per liter of growth medium is significantly decreased; taking into account improvements in yield, these savings can be quite dramatic. Triple-labeled protein is also efficiently produced including specific 13CH3 labeling of isoleucine, leucine, and valine using the traditional ILV precursors in combination with an ILV-depleted mix of 2H/15N amino acids. These results are demonstrated for the membrane protein sensory rhodopsin II and the soluble proteins human aldoketoreductase AKR1c3, human ubiquitin, and bacterial flavodoxin. Limitations of the approach in the context of very large molecular weight proteins are illustrated using the bacterial Lac repressor transcription factor.

Keywords

Protein deuteration Nuclear magnetic resonance Amino acid chromatography ILVM methyl labeling Algal amino acids 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank L. Liang for assistance throughout this project. We thank Professor Trevor M. Penning for the AKR1c3 expression vector. This work was supported by the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation and NIH Grant GM079190. E.S.O. is a NIH predoctoral trainee (T32 GM008275).

Author contributions

E.S.O., D.W.L. & A.J.W. designed the research. E.S.O., D.W.L., M.A.S., B.F., & T.G. prepared samples and carried out NMR experiments. C.T. assisted in method implementation. E.S.O. and A.J.W. wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johnson Research Foundation and Department of Biochemistry & BiophysicsUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry & BiophysicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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