The ability to metabolically label proteins with 35S-methionine is critical for the analysis of protein synthesis and turnover. Despite the importance of this approach, however, efficient labeling of proteins in vivo is often limited by a low number of available methionine residues, or by deleterious side-effects associated with protein overexpression. To overcome these limitations, we have created a methionine-rich variant of the widely used HA tag, called HAM, for use with ectopically expressed proteins. Here we describe the development of a series of vectors, and corresponding antisera, for the expression and detection of HAM-tagged proteins in mammalian cells. We show that the HAM tag dramatically improves the sensitivity of 35S-methionine labeling, and permits the analysis of Myc oncoprotein turnover even when HAM-tagged Myc is expressed at levels comparable to that of the endogenous protein. Because of the improved sensitivity provided by the HAM tag, the vectors and antisera described here should be useful for the analysis of protein synthesis and destruction at physiological levels of protein expression.
antibody epitope-tag metabolic labeling protein stability