OmniBac: Universal Multigene Transfer Plasmids for Baculovirus Expression Vector Systems.
Raj, D.B., Vijayachandran, L.S. & Berger, I.
Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1091:123-30. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-691-7_7.
Current baculovirus expression vector systems (BEVS) rely on either using homologous recombination or site specific transposition (Tn7 transposition) to obtain recombinant baculovirus. Each approach has its own merits. To date, the choice of transfer plasmids limited expression of target proteins to only one of the two types of BEVS. Here we describe OmniBac, comprising novel universal multigene transfer plasmids that can access all BEVS currently in use for protein production in the community. Detailed protocols are presented for integrating OmniBac plasmids into baculoviral genomes used for heterologous protein production in insect cells.
Multiprotein complex production in insect cells by using polyproteins.
Nie, Y., Bellon-Echeverria, I., Trowitzsch, S., Bieniossek, C. & Berger, I.
Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1091:131-41. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-691-7_8.
A powerful approach utilizing polyproteins for balancing stoichiometry of recombinant multiprotein complexes overproduced in baculovirus expression vector systems (BEVS) is described. This procedure has been implemented here in the MultiBac system but can also be directly adapted to all commonly used BEVS. The protocol details the design principles of polyprotein-expressing DNA constructs, the generation of composite baculovirus for polyprotein production, and the expression and in vivo processing of polyproteins in baculovirus infected insect cells.
High-Throughput Screening of Multiple Protein Complexes.
Berger, I., Chaillet, M., Garzoni, F., Yau-Rose, S. & Zoro, B.
Amer. Laboratory. 2013 Sep;45(8): 32-35.
The MultiBac Protein Complex Production Platform at the EMBL.
Berger, I., Garzoni, F., Chaillet, M., Haffke, M., Gupta, K. & Aubert, A.
J Vis Exp. 2013 Jul 11;(77). doi: 10.3791/50159.
Proteomics research revealed the impressive complexity of eukaryotic proteomes in unprecedented detail. It is now a commonly accepted notion that proteins in cells mostly exist not as isolated entities but exert their biological activity in association with many other proteins, in humans ten or more, forming assembly lines in the cell for most if not all vital functions.(1,2) Knowledge of the function and architecture of these multiprotein assemblies requires their provision in superior quality and sufficient quantity for detailed analysis. The paucity of many protein complexes in cells, in particular in eukaryotes, prohibits their extraction from native sources, and necessitates recombinant production. The baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS) has proven to be particularly useful for producing eukaryotic proteins, the activity of which often relies on post-translational processing that other commonly used expression systems often cannot support.(3) BEVS use a recombinant baculovirus into which the gene of interest was inserted to infect insect cell cultures which in turn produce the protein of choice. MultiBac is a BEVS that has been particularly tailored for the production of eukaryotic protein complexes that contain many subunits.(4) A vital prerequisite for efficient production of proteins and their complexes are robust protocols for all steps involved in an expression experiment that ideally can be implemented as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and followed also by non-specialist users with comparative ease. The MultiBac platform at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) uses SOPs for all steps involved in a multiprotein complex expression experiment, starting from insertion of the genes into an engineered baculoviral genome optimized for heterologous protein production properties to small-scale analysis of the protein specimens produced.(5-8) The platform is installed in an open-access mode at EMBL Grenoble and has supported many scientists from academia and industry to accelerate protein complex research projects.
Structural basis of signal sequence surveillance and selection by the SRP-FtsY complex.
von Loeffelholz, O., Knoops, K., Ariosa, A., Zhang, X., Karuppasamy, M., Huard, K., Schoehn, G., Berger, I., Shan, S.O. & Schaffitzel, C.
Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 May;20(5):604-10. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2546. Epub 2013 Apr7.
Signal-recognition particle (SRP)-dependent targeting of translating ribosomes to membranes is a multistep quality-control process. Ribosomes that are translating weakly hydrophobic signal sequences can be rejected from the targeting reaction even after they are bound to the SRP. Here we show that the early complex, formed by Escherichia coli SRP and its receptor FtsY with ribosomes translating the incorrect cargo EspP, is unstable and rearranges inefficiently into subsequent conformational states, such that FtsY dissociation is favored over successful targeting. The N-terminal extension of EspP is responsible for these defects in the early targeting complex. The cryo-electron microscopy structure of this 'false' early complex with EspP revealed an ordered M domain of SRP protein Ffh making two ribosomal contacts, and the NG domains of Ffh and FtsY forming a distorted, flexible heterodimer. Our results provide a structural basis for SRP-mediated signal-sequence selection during recruitment of the SRP receptor.
Baculovirus expression: tackling the complexity challenge.
Barford, D., Takagi, Y., Schultz, P. & Berger, I.
Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2013 Apr 26. pii: S0959-440X(13)00052-3. doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2013.03.009.
Most essential functions in eukaryotic cells are catalyzed by complex molecular machines built of many subunits. To fully understand their biological function in health and disease, it is imperative to study these machines in their entirety. The provision of many essential multiprotein complexes of higher eukaryotes including humans, can be a considerable challenge, as low abundance and heterogeneity often rule out their extraction from native source material. The baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS), specifically tailored for multiprotein complex production, has proven itself to be uniquely suited for overcoming this impeding bottleneck. Here we highlight recent major achievements in multiprotein complex structure research that were catalyzed by this versatile recombinant complex expression tool.
The architecture of human general transcription factor TFIID core complex.
Bieniossek, C., Papai, G., Schaffitzel, C., Garzoni, F., Chaillet, M., Scheer, E., Papadopoulos, P., Tora, L., Schultz, P. & Berger, I.
Nature. 2013 Jan 31;493(7434):699-702. doi: 10.1038/nature11791. Epub 2013 Jan 6.
The initiation of gene transcription by RNA polymerase II is regulated by a plethora of proteins in human cells. The first general transcription factor to bind gene promoters is transcription factor IID (TFIID). TFIID triggers pre-initiation complex formation, functions as a coactivator by interacting with transcriptional activators and reads epigenetic marks. TFIID is a megadalton-sized multiprotein complex composed of TATA-box-binding protein (TBP) and 13 TBP-associated factors (TAFs). Despite its crucial role, the detailed architecture and assembly mechanism of TFIID remain elusive. Histone fold domains are prevalent in TAFs, and histone-like tetramer and octamer structures have been proposed in TFIID. A functional core-TFIID subcomplex was revealed in Drosophila nuclei, consisting of a subset of TAFs (TAF4, TAF5, TAF6, TAF9 and TAF12). These core subunits are thought to be present in two copies in holo-TFIID, in contrast to TBP and other TAFs that are present in a single copy, conveying a transition from symmetry to asymmetry in the TFIID assembly pathway. Here we present the structure of human core-TFIID determined by cryo-electron microscopy at 11.6 A resolution. Our structure reveals a two-fold symmetric, interlaced architecture, with pronounced protrusions, that accommodates all conserved structural features of the TAFs including the histone folds. We further demonstrate that binding of one TAF8-TAF10 complex breaks the original symmetry of core-TFIID. We propose that the resulting asymmetric structure serves as a functional scaffold to nucleate holo-TFIID assembly, by accreting one copy each of the remaining TAFs and TBP.
Gene gymnastics: Synthetic biology for baculovirus expression vector system engineering.
Vijayachandran, L.S., Thimiri Govinda Raj, D.B., Edelweiss, E., Gupta, K., Maier, J., Gordeliy, V., Fitzgerald, D.J. & Berger, I.
Bioengineered. 2013 Jan 17;4(5).
Most essential activities in eukaryotic cells are catalyzed by large multiprotein assemblies containing up to ten or more interlocking subunits. The vast majority of these protein complexes are not easily accessible for high resolution studies aimed at unlocking their mechanisms, due to their low cellular abundance and high heterogeneity. Recombinant overproduction can resolve this bottleneck and baculovirus expression vector systems (BEVS) have emerged as particularly powerful tools for the provision of eukaryotic multiprotein complexes in high quality and quantity. Recently, synthetic biology approaches have begun to make their mark in improving existing BEVS reagents by de novo design of streamlined transfer plasmids and by engineering the baculovirus genome. Here we present OmniBac, comprising new custom designed reagents that further facilitate the integration of heterologous genes into the baculovirus genome for multiprotein expression. Based on comparative genome analysis and data mining, we herein present a blueprint to custom design and engineer the entire baculovirus genome for optimized production properties using a bottom-up synthetic biology approach.
Protein production for structural biology: new solutions to new challenges.
Berger, I. & Mayr, L.M.
Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2013 Jun;23(3):317-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2013.05.004. Epub2013 Jun 2. Europe PMC
Tandem Recombineering by SLIC Cloning and Cre-LoxP Fusion to Generate Multigene Expression Constructs for Protein Complex Research.
Haffke, M., Viola, C., Nie, Y. & Berger, I.
Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1073:131-40. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-625-2_11.
A robust protocol to generate recombinant DNA containing multigene expression cassettes by using sequence and ligation independent cloning (SLIC) followed by multiplasmid Cre-LoxP recombination in tandem for multiprotein complex research is described. The protocol includes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the desired genes, seamless insertion into the target vector via SLIC, and Cre-LoxP recombination of specific donor and acceptor plasmid molecules, optionally in a robotic setup. This procedure, called tandem recombineering, has been implemented for multiprotein expression in E. coli and mammalian cells, and also for insect cells using a recombinant baculovirus.
Trowitzsch, S., Palmberger, D., Fitzgerald, D., Takagi, Y. & Berger, I.
Expert Rev Proteomics. 2012 Aug;9(4):363-73.
Recombinant production of multiprotein complexes is an emerging focus in academic and pharmaceutical research and is expected to play a key role in addressing complex biological questions in health and disease. Here we describe MultiBac, a state-of-the-art eukaryotic expression technology utilizing an engineered baculovirus to infect insect cells. The robust and flexible concept of MultiBac allows for simultaneous expression of multiple proteins in a single cell, which can be used to produce protein complexes and to recapitulate metabolic pathways. The MultiBac system has been set up as an open-access platform technology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France. The performance of this platform and its access modalities to the scientific community are detailed in this article. The MultiBac system has been instrumental for unlocking the function of a number of essential multiprotein complexes and recent examples are discussed. This article presents a novel concept for the customized production of glycosylated protein targets using SweetBac, a modified MultiBac vector system. Finally, this article outlines how MultiBac may further develop in the future to serve applications in both academic and industrial research and development.
MultiBac turns sweet.
Palmberger, D., Klausberger, M., Berger, I. & Grabherr, R.
Bioengineered. 2012 Mar 1;4(2).
The baculovirus/insect cell system has proven to be a powerful tool for the expression of eukaryotic proteins. Therapeutics, especially in the field of vaccinology, are often composed of several different protein subunits. Conventional baculoviral expression schemes largely lack efficient strategies for simultaneous multi-gene expression. The MultiBac technology which is based on an engineered genome of Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus in combination with specially designed transfer vectors is an elegant way for flexible generation of multi-subunit proteins in insect cells. Yet, the glycosylation pattern of insect cell-derived products is not favorable for many applications. Therefore, a modified version of MultiBac, SweetBac, was generated allowing for a flexible glycosylation of target proteins in insect cells. Beyond the SweetBac technology MultiBac can further be designed for bridging the gap between cell engineering and transient modulation of host genes for improved and product tailored expression of recombinant proteins.
MultiBac: expanding the research toolbox for multiprotein complexes.
Bieniossek, C., Imasaki, T., Takagi, Y. & Berger, I.
Trends Biochem Sci. 2012 Feb;37(2):49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2011.10.005. Epub2011 Dec 7.
Protein complexes composed of many subunits carry out most essential processes in cells and, therefore, have become the focus of intense research. However, deciphering the structure and function of these multiprotein assemblies imposes the challenging task of producing them in sufficient quality and quantity. To overcome this bottleneck, powerful recombinant expression technologies are being developed. In this review, we describe the use of one of these technologies, MultiBac, a baculovirus expression vector system that is particularly tailored for the production of eukaryotic multiprotein complexes. Among other applications, MultiBac has been used to produce many important proteins and their complexes for their structural characterization, revealing fundamental cellular mechanisms.
SweetBac: A New Approach for the Production of Mammalianised Glycoproteins in Insect Cells.
Palmberger, D., Wilson, I.B., Berger, I., Grabherr, R. & Rendic, D.
PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34226. Epub 2012 Apr 2.
Recombinant production of therapeutically active proteins has become a central focus of contemporary life science research. These proteins are often produced in mammalian cells, in order to obtain products with post-translational modifications similar to their natural counterparts. However, in cases where a fast and flexible system for recombinant production of proteins is needed, the use of mammalian cells is limited. The baculoviral insect cell system has proven to be a powerful alternative for the expression of a wide range of recombinant proteins in short time frames. The major drawback of baculoviral systems lies in the inability to perform mammalian-like glycosylation required for the production of therapeutic glycoproteins. In this study we integrated sequences encoding Caenorhabditis elegans N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase II and bovine beta1,4-galactosyltransferase I into the backbone of a baculovirus genome. The thereby generated SweetBac virus was subsequently used for the production of the human HIV anti-gp41 antibody 3D6 by integrating heavy and light chain open reading frames into the SweetBac genome. The parallel expression of target genes and glycosyltransferases reduced the yield of secreted antibody. However, the overall expression rate, especially in the recently established Tnao38 cell line, was comparable to that of transient expression in mammalian cells. In order to evaluate the ability of SweetBac to generate mammalian-like N-glycan structures on 3D6 antibody, we performed SDS-PAGE and tested for the presence of terminal galactose using Riccinus communis agglutinin I. The mammalianised variants of 3D6 showed highly specific binding to the lectin, indicating proper functionality. To confirm these results, PNGase A released N-glycans were analyzed by MALDI-TOF-MS and shown to contain structures with mainly one or two terminal galactose residues. Since the presence of specific N-glycans has an impact on antibodies ability to exert different effector functions, we tested the binding to human Fc gamma receptor I present on U937 cells.
Light it up: Highly efficient multigene delivery in mammalian cells.
Trowitzsch, S., Klumpp, M., Thoma, R., Carralot, J.P. & Berger, I.
Bioessays. 2011 Dec;33(12):946-55. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100109. Epub 2011Oct 17.
Multigene delivery and expression systems are emerging as key technologies for many applications in contemporary biology. We have developed new methods for multigene delivery and expression in eukaryotic hosts for a variety of applications, including production of protein complexes for structural biology and drug development, provision of multicomponent protein biologics, and cell-based assays. We implemented tandem recombineering to facilitate rapid generation of multicomponent gene expression constructs for efficient transformation of mammalian cells, resulting in homogenous cell populations. Analysis of multiple parameters in living cells may require co-expression of fluorescently tagged sensors simultaneously in a single cell, at defined and ideally controlled ratios. Our method enables such applications by overcoming currently limiting challenges. Here, we review recent multigene delivery and expression strategies and their exploitation in mammalian cells. We discuss applications in drug discovery assays, interaction studies, and biologics production, which may benefit in the future from our novel approach.
Robots, pipelines, polyproteins: enabling multiprotein expression in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
Vijayachandran, L.S., Viola, C., Garzoni, F., Trowitzsch, S., Bieniossek, C., Chaillet, M., Schaffitzel, C., Busso, D., Romier, C., Poterszman, A., Richmond, T.J. & Berger, I.
J Struct Biol. 2011 Aug;175(2):198-208. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2011.03.007. Epub 2011Mar 17.
Multiprotein complexes catalyze vital biological functions in the cell. A paramount objective of the SPINE2 project was to address the structural molecular biology of these multiprotein complexes, by enlisting and developing enabling technologies for their study. An emerging key prerequisite for studying complex biological specimens is their recombinant overproduction. Novel reagents and streamlined protocols for rapidly assembling co-expression constructs for this purpose have been designed and validated. The high-throughput pipeline implemented at IGBMC Strasbourg and the ACEMBL platform at the EMBL Grenoble utilize recombinant overexpression systems for heterologous expression of proteins and their complexes. Extension of the ACEMBL platform technology to include eukaryotic hosts such as insect and mammalian cells has been achieved. Efficient production of large multicomponent protein complexes for structural studies using the baculovirus/insect cell system can be hampered by a stoichiometric imbalance of the subunits produced. A polyprotein strategy has been developed to overcome this bottleneck and has been successfully implemented in our MultiBac baculovirus expression system for producing multiprotein complexes.
Structural insights into transcription complexes.
Berger, I., Blanco, A.G., Boelens, R., Cavarelli, J., Coll, M., Folkers, G.E., Nie, Y., Pogenberg, V., Schultz, P., Wilmanns, M., Moras, D. & Poterszman, A.
J Struct Biol. 2011 Aug;175(2):135-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2011.04.015. Epub 2011May 6.
Control of transcription allows the regulation of cell activity in response to external stimuli and research in the field has greatly benefited from efforts in structural biology. In this review, based on specific examples from the European SPINE2-COMPLEXES initiative, we illustrate the impact of structural proteomics on our understanding of the molecular basis of gene expression. While most atomic structures were obtained by X-ray crystallography, the impact of solution NMR and cryo-electron microscopy is far from being negligible. Here, we summarize some highlights and illustrate the importance of specific technologies on the structural biology of protein-protein or protein/DNA transcription complexes: structure/function analysis of components the eukaryotic basal and activated transcription machinery with focus on the TFIID and TFIIH multi-subunit complexes as well as transcription regulators such as members of the nuclear hormone receptor families. We also discuss molecular aspects of promoter recognition and epigenetic control of gene expression.
Architecture of the Mediator head module.
Imasaki, T., Calero, G., Cai, G., Tsai, K.L., Yamada, K., Cardelli, F., Erdjument-Bromage, H., Tempst, P., Berger, I., Kornberg, G.L., Asturias, F.J., Kornberg, R.D. & Takagi, Y.
Nature. 2011 Jul 3;475(7355):240-3. doi: 10.1038/nature10162.
Mediator is a key regulator of eukaryotic transcription, connecting activators and repressors bound to regulatory DNA elements with RNA polymerase II (Pol II). In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Mediator comprises 25 subunits with a total mass of more than one megadalton (refs 5, 6) and is organized into three modules, called head, middle/arm and tail. Our understanding of Mediator assembly and its role in regulating transcription has been impeded so far by limited structural information. Here we report the crystal structure of the essential Mediator head module (seven subunits, with a mass of 223 kilodaltons) at a resolution of 4.3 angstroms. Our structure reveals three distinct domains, with the integrity of the complex centred on a bundle of ten helices from five different head subunits. An intricate pattern of interactions within this helical bundle ensures the stable assembly of the head subunits and provides the binding sites for general transcription factors and Pol II. Our structural and functional data suggest that the head module juxtaposes transcription factor IIH and the carboxy-terminal domain of the largest subunit of Pol II, thereby facilitating phosphorylation of the carboxy-terminal domain of Pol II. Our results reveal architectural principles underlying the role of Mediator in the regulation of gene expression.
Recombinant Heptameric Coatomer Complexes: Novel Tools to Study Isoform-Specific Functions.
Sahlmuller, M.C., Strating, J.R., Beck, R., Eckert, P., Popoff, V., Haag, M., Hellwig, A., Berger, I., Brugger, B. & Wieland, F.T.
Traffic. 2011 Jun;12(6):682-692. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2011.01177.x.Epub 2011 Mar 15.
COPI (coat protein I)-coated vesicles are implicated in various transport steps within the early secretory pathway. The major structural component of the COPI coat is the heptameric complex coatomer (CM). Recently, four isoforms of CM were discovered that may help explain various transport steps in which the complex has been reported to be involved. Biochemical studies of COPI vesicles currently use CM purified from animal tissue or cultured cells, a mixture of the isoforms, impeding functional and structural studies of individual complexes. Here we report the cloning into single baculoviruses of all CM subunits including their isoforms and their combination for expression of heptameric CM isoforms in insect cells. We show that all four isoforms of recombinant CM are fully functional in an in vitro COPI vesicle biogenesis assay. These novel tools enable functional and structural studies on CM isoforms and their subcomplexes and allow studying mutants of CM.
Baculovirus Expression Strategies for Protein Complex Production
Vijayachandran, L.S., Viola, C. & Berger, I.
Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (ELS) /, John Wiley & Sons,Ltd:
DOI: 10.1002/ 9780470015902.a0023180 (2011).
A plasmid-based multigene expression system for mammalian cells.
Kriz, A., Schmid, K., Baumgartner, N., Ziegler, U., Berger, I., Ballmer-Hofer, K. & Berger, P.
Nat Commun. 2010 Nov;1(8):120.
The introduction of heterologous genetic information, particularly of multiple genes, into mammalian cells is a key technology in contemporary experimental biological research. The coexpression of fluorescently tagged sensors is required to simultaneously analyse multiple parameters in living cells and the coexpression of several proteins is necessary to manipulate cell fate in stem cell biology. Current technologies for multigene expression in mammalian cells are inefficient, inflexible and time-consuming. In this paper we describe MultiLabel, a novel and highly efficient modular plasmid-based eukaryotic expression system. Independent expression vectors are assembled by a Cre/LoxP reaction into a plasmid with multiple expression cassettes. MultiLabel enables rapid construction of multigene expression vectors for the single-step creation of transiently or stably transfected mammalian cells.
New baculovirus expression tools for recombinant protein complex production.
Trowitzsch, S., Bieniossek, C., Nie, Y., Garzoni, F. & Berger, I.
J Struct Biol. 2010 Oct;172(1):45-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2010.02.010. Epub 2010Feb 21.
Most eukaryotic proteins exist as large multicomponent assemblies with many subunits, which act in concert to catalyze specific cellular activities. Many of these molecular machines are only present in low amounts in their native hosts, which impede purification from source material. Unraveling their structure and function at high resolution will often depend on heterologous overproduction. Recombinant expression of multiprotein complexes for structural studies can entail considerable, sometimes inhibitory, investment in both labor and materials, in particular if altering and diversifying of the individual subunits are necessary for successful structure determination. Our laboratory has addressed this challenge by developing technologies that streamline the complex production and diversification process. Here, we review several of these developments for recombinant multiprotein complex production using the MultiBac baculovirus/insect cell expression system which we created. We also addressed parallelization and automation of gene assembly for multiprotein complex expression by developing robotic routines for multigene vector generation. In this contribution, we focus on several improvements of baculovirus expression system performance which we introduced: the modifications of the transfer plasmids, the methods for generation of composite multigene baculoviral DNA, and the simplified and standardized expression procedures which we delineated using our MultiBac system.
Getting a grip on complexes.
Nie, Y., Viola, C., Bieniossek, C., Trowitzsch, S., Vijay-Achandran, L.S., Chaillet, M., Garzoni, F. & Berger, I.
Curr Genomics. 2009 Dec;10(8):558-72.
We are witnessing tremendous advances in our understanding of the organization of life. Complete genomes are being deciphered with ever increasing speed and accuracy, thereby setting the stage for addressing the entire gene product repertoire of cells, towards understanding whole biological systems. Advances in bioinformatics and mass spectrometric techniques have revealed the multitude of interactions present in the proteome. Multiprotein complexes are emerging as a paramount cornerstone of biological activity, as many proteins appear to participate, stably or transiently, in large multisubunit assemblies. Analysis of the architecture of these assemblies and their manifold interactions is imperative for understanding their function at the molecular level. Structural genomics efforts have fostered the development of many technologies towards achieving the throughput required for studying system-wide single proteins and small interaction motifs at high resolution. The present shift in focus towards large multiprotein complexes, in particular in eukaryotes, now calls for a likewise concerted effort to develop and provide new technologies that are urgently required to produce in quality and quantity the plethora of multiprotein assemblies that form the complexome, and to routinely study their structure and function at the molecular level. Current efforts towards this objective are summarized and reviewed in this contribution.
ACEMBLing multigene expression constructs by recombineering.
Nie, Y., Bieniossek, C., Frey, D., Olieric, N., Schaffitzel, C., Steinmetz, M.O. & Berger, I.
Nat Protocols, doi: 10.1038/nprot.2009.104
Automated unrestricted multigene recombineering for multiprotein complex production.
Bieniossek, C., Nie, Y., Frey, D., Olieric, N., Schaffitzel, C., Collinson, I., Romier, C., Berger, P., Richmond, T.J., Steinmetz, M.O. & Berger, I.
Nat Methods. 2009 Jun;6(6):447-50. Epub 2009 May 3.
Structural and functional studies of many multiprotein complexes depend on recombinant-protein overexpression. Rapid revision of expression experiments and diversification of the complexes are often crucial for success of these projects; therefore, automation is increasingly indispensable. We introduce Acembl, a versatile and automatable system for protein-complex expression in Escherichia coli that uses recombineering to facilitate multigene assembly and diversification. We demonstrated protein-complex expression using Acembl, including production of the complete prokaryotic holotranslocon.
Towards eukaryotic structural complexomics.
Bieniossek, C. & Berger, I.
J Struct Funct Genomics. 2009 Mar;10(1):37-46. Epub 2008 Nov 14.
Many eukaryotic proteins exist in large multisubunit assemblies and often show compromised folding or activity when their interaction partners are not present. Protein complexes in eukaryotes can contain ten or more subunits with individual polypeptides ranging in size up to several hundred kilodalton, severely restricting the application of conventional cloning strategies and imposing constraints on the choice of the expression host. Modern structural molecular biology often depends on introducing diversity into the specimens under investigation, including mutation, truncation and placement of purification aids. Current recombinant expression methods often require a disproportionate labor investment prior to multiprotein expression, and subsequent to expression and analysis do not provide for rapid revision of the experiment. We have developed reagents and protocols for rapid and flexible multiprotein complex expressions suitable for structural biology, focusing on multigene baculoviral vectors and their recombination mediated assembly. A top priority in protein science is automation. Our strategy can be readily adapted in a robotics setup, for baculovirus/insect cell expression of protein complexes, but likewise also for mammalian or prokaryotic hosts.
MultiBac: multigene baculovirus-based eukaryotic protein complex production.
Bieniossek, C., Richmond, T.J. & Berger, I.
Curr Protoc Protein Sci. 2008 Feb;Chapter 5:Unit 5.20.
Multiprotein complexes are an emerging focus in current biology, resulting in a demand for advanced heterologous expression systems. This unit provides protocols for the expression of eukaryotic multiprotein complexes using multigene expression vectors. Homologous and site-specific recombinases facilitate their assembly. Thus, modification of individual subunits for revised expression studies is achieved with comparative ease. The strategy outlined here employs the MultiBac baculoviral expression system for multiprotein complexes as an example. Baculoviral expression does not require particular safety precautions due to the replication incompetence of baculovirus in mammalian hosts. The MultiBac system provides for improved protein production due to deletion of specific viral genes (V-cath, chiA). Most of the steps described in this unit are tailored for high-throughput approaches. The general strategy of rapidly combining encoding DNAs by recombination into multigene expression vectors for protein complex expression can also be applied to other prokaryotic or mammalian expression systems.
Multiprotein expression strategy for structural biology of eukaryotic complexes.
Fitzgerald, D.J., Schaffitzel, C., Berger, P., Wellinger, R., Bieniossek, C., Richmond, T.J. & Berger, I.
Structure. 2007 Mar;15(3):275-9.
The concept of the cell as a collection of multisubunit protein machines is emerging as a cornerstone of modern biology, and molecular-level study of these machines in most cases will require recombinant production. Here, we present and validate a strategy to rapidly produce, permutate, and posttranslationally modify large, eukaryotic multiprotein complexes by using DNA recombination in a process that is fully automatable. Parallel production of 12 protein complex variants within a period of weeks resulted in specimens of sufficient quantity and homogeneity for structural biology applications.
Nucleic Acid Science - The Excitement of Discovery. Annual Symposium of the Chemical Society Zurich.
Berger, I., Schaffitzel, C. & Bieniossek, C.
Chimia 2007 61 837-841
Protein complex expression by using multigene baculoviral vectors.
Fitzgerald, D.J., Berger, P., Schaffitzel, C., Yamada, K., Richmond, T.J. & Berger, I.
Nat Methods. 2006 Dec;3(12):1021-32.
Elucidation of the molecular basis of protein-interaction networks, in particular in higher eukaryotes, is hampered by insufficient quantities of endogenous multiprotein complexes. Present recombinant expression methods often require considerable investment in both labor and materials before multiprotein expression, and after expression and biochemical analysis these methods do not provide flexibility for expressing an altered multiprotein complex. To meet these demands, we have recently introduced MultiBac, a modular baculovirus-based system specifically designed for eukaryotic multiprotein expression. Here we describe new transfer vectors and a combination of DNA recombination-based methods, which further facilitate the generation of multigene cassettes for protein coexpression (Fig. 1), thus providing a flexible platform for generation of protein expression vectors and their rapid regeneration for revised expression studies. Genes encoding components of a multiprotein complex are inserted into a suite of compatible transfer vectors by homologous recombination. These progenitor constructs are then rapidly joined in the desired combination by Cre-loxP-mediated in vitro plasmid fusion. Protocols for integration of the resulting multigene expression cassettes into the MultiBac baculoviral genome are provided that rely on Tn7 transposition and/or Cre-loxP reaction carried out in vivo in Escherichia coli cells tailored for this purpose. Detailed guidelines for multigene virus generation and amplification, cell culture maintenance and protein production are provided, together with data illustrating the simplicity and remarkable robustness of the present method for multiprotein expression using a composite MultiBac baculoviral vector.
Structure of the E. coli signal recognition particle bound to a translating ribosome.
Schaffitzel, C., Oswald, M., Berger, I., Ishikawa, T., Abrahams, J.P., Koerten, H.K., Koning, R.I. & Ban, N.
Nature. 2006 Nov 23;444(7118):503-6. Epub 2006 Oct 29.
The prokaryotic signal recognition particle (SRP) targets membrane proteins into the inner membrane. It binds translating ribosomes and screens the emerging nascent chain for a hydrophobic signal sequence, such as the transmembrane helix of inner membrane proteins. If such a sequence emerges, the SRP binds tightly, allowing the SRP receptor to lock on. This assembly delivers the ribosome-nascent chain complex to the protein translocation machinery in the membrane. Using cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle reconstruction, we obtained a 16 A structure of the Escherichia coli SRP in complex with a translating E. coli ribosome containing a nascent chain with a transmembrane helix anchor. We also obtained structural information on the SRP bound to an empty E. coli ribosome. The latter might share characteristics with a scanning SRP complex, whereas the former represents the next step: the targeting complex ready for receptor binding. High-resolution structures of the bacterial ribosome and of the bacterial SRP components are available, and their fitting explains our electron microscopic density. The structures reveal the regions that are involved in complex formation, provide insight into the conformation of the SRP on the ribosome and indicate the conformational changes that accompany high-affinity SRP binding to ribosome nascent chain complexes upon recognition of the signal sequence.
Multi-level regulation of myotubularin-related protein-2 phosphatase activity by myotubularin-related protein-13/set-binding factor-2.
Berger, P., Berger, I., Schaffitzel, C., Tersar, K., Volkmer, B. & Suter, U.
Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Feb 15;15(4):569-79. Epub 2006 Jan 6.
Mutations in myotubularin-related protein-2 (MTMR2) or MTMR13/set-binding factor-2 (SBF2) genes are responsible for the severe autosomal recessive hereditary neuropathies, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) types 4B1 and 4B2, both characterized by reduced nerve conduction velocities, focally folded myelin sheaths and demyelination. MTMRs form a large family of conserved dual-specific phosphatases with enzymatically active and inactive members. We show that homodimeric active Mtmr2 interacts with homodimeric inactive Sbf2 in a tetrameric complex. This association dramatically increases the enzymatic activity of the complexed Mtmr2 towards phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate. Mtmr2 and Sbf2 are considerably, but not completely, co-localized in the cellular cytoplasm. On membranes of large vesicles formed under hypo-osmotic conditions, Sbf2 favorably competes with Mtmr2 for binding sites. Our data are consistent with a model suggesting that, at a given cellular location, Mtmr2 phosphatase activity is highly regulated, being high in the Mtmr2/Sbf2 complex, moderate if Mtmr2 is not associated with Sbf2 or functionally blocked by competition through Sbf2 for membrane-binding sites.
Syntheses of 4'-thioribonucleosides and thermodynamic stability and crystal structure of RNA oligomers with incorporated 4'-thiocytosine.
Haeberli, P., Berger, I., Pallan, P.S. & Egli, M.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Jul 18;33(13):3965-75. Print 2005.
A facile synthetic route for the 4'-thioribonucleoside building block (4'S)N (N = U, C, A and G) with the ribose O4' replaced by sulfur is presented. Conversion of l-lyxose to 1,5-di-O-acetyl-2,3-di-O-benzoyl-4-thio-d-ribofuranose was achieved via an efficient four-step synthesis with high yield. Conversion of the thiosugar into the four ribonucleoside phosphoramidite building blocks was accomplished with additional four steps in each case. Incorporation of 4'-thiocytidines into oligoribonucleotides improved the thermal stability of the corresponding duplexes by approximately 1 degrees C per modification, irrespective of whether the strand contained a single modification or a consecutive stretch of (4'S)C residues. The gain in thermodynamic stability is comparable to that observed with oligoribonucleotides containing 2'-O-methylated residues. To establish potential conformational changes in RNA as a result of the 4'-thio modification and to better understand the origins of the observed stability changes, the crystal structure of the oligonucleotide 5'-r(CC(4'S)CCGGGG) was determined and analyzed using the previously solved structure of the native RNA octamer as a reference. The two 4'-thioriboses adopt conformations that are very similar to the C3'-endo pucker observed for the corresponding sugars in the native duplex. Subtle changes in the local geometry of the modified duplex are mostly due to the larger radius of sulfur compared to oxygen or appear to be lattice-induced. The significantly increased RNA affinity of 4'-thio-modified RNA relative to RNA, and the relatively minor conformational changes caused by the modification render this nucleic acid analog an interesting candidate for in vitro and in vivo applications, including use in RNA interference (RNAi), antisense, ribozyme, decoy and aptamer technologies.
Baculovirus expression system for heterologous multiprotein complexes.
Berger, I., Fitzgerald, D.J. & Richmond, T.J.
Nat Biotechnol. 2004 Dec;22(12):1583-7. Epub 2004 Nov 28.
The discovery of large multiprotein complexes in cells has increased the demand for improved heterologous protein production techniques to study their molecular structure and function. Here we describe MultiBac, a simple and versatile system for generating recombinant baculovirus DNA to express protein complexes comprising many subunits. Our method uses transfer vectors containing a multiplication module that can be nested to facilitate assembly of polycistronic expression cassettes, thereby minimizing requirements for unique restriction sites. The transfer vectors access a modified baculovirus DNA through Cre-loxP site-specific recombination or Tn7 transposition. This baculovirus has improved protein expression characteristics because specific viral genes have been eliminated. Gene insertion reactions are carried out in Escherichia coli either sequentially or concurrently in a rapid, one-step procedure. Our system is useful for both recombinant multiprotein production and multigene transfer applications.
Reaction cycle of the yeast Isw2 chromatin remodeling complex.
Fitzgerald, D.J., DeLuca, C., Berger, I., Gaillard, H., Sigrist, R., Schimmele, K. & Richmond, T.J.
EMBO J. 2004 Oct 1;23(19):3836-43. Epub 2004 Sep 9.
Members of the ISWI family of chromatin remodeling factors hydrolyze ATP to reposition nucleosomes along DNA. Here we show that the yeast Isw2 complex interacts with DNA in a nucleotide-dependent manner at physiological ionic strength. Isw2 efficiently binds DNA in the absence of nucleotides and in the presence of a nonhydrolyzable ATP analog. Conversely, ADP promotes the dissociation of Isw2 from DNA. In contrast, Isw2 remains bound to mononucleosomes through multiple cycles of ATP hydrolysis. Solution studies show that Isw2 undergoes nucleotide-dependent alterations in conformation not requiring ATP hydrolysis. Our results indicate that during an Isw2 remodeling reaction, hydrolysis of successive ATP molecules coincides with cycles of DNA binding, release, and rebinding involving elements of Isw2 distinct from those interacting with nucleosomes. We propose that progression of the DNA-binding site occurs while nucleosome core contacts are maintained and generates a force dissipated by disruption of histone-DNA interactions.
Membrane association of myotubularin-related protein 2 is mediated by a pleckstrin homology-GRAM domain and a coiled-coil dimerization module.
Berger, P., Schaffitzel, C., Berger, I., Ban, N. & Suter, U.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Oct 14;100(21):12177-82. Epub 2003 Oct 6.
Mutations in the myotubularin (MTM)-related protein 2 (MTMR2) gene are responsible for the severe autosomal recessive neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4B1. MTMR2 belongs to the MTM family of dual-specific phosphatases that use phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3,5-bisphosphate [PI(3,5)P2] and PI 3-phosphate [PI(3)P] as their substrate. Because these substrates are localized in the membrane bilayer, membrane targeting of Mtmr2 is an important regulatory mechanism. In hypoosmotically stressed COS cells with increased levels of PI(3,5)P2, Mtmr2 is bound to the membrane of vacuoles formed under these conditions. Using several mutant forms of Mtmr2, we identified two domains that are necessary for membrane association: (i) A pleckstrin homology-GRAM domain; and (ii) a coiled-coil module. Protein-lipid overlay assays show that the pleckstrin homology-GRAM domain binds to PI(3,5)P2 and PI(5)P, a substrate and a product of the Mtmr2 enzyme, respectively. We also demonstrate that Mtmr2 forms a dimer and that the C-terminal coiled-coil is responsible for homodimerization, in addition to membrane association. Our data indicate that phosphoinositide-protein interactions, as well as protein-protein interactions, are necessary for the correct regulation of MTMR2.
Direct interaction of Ca2+/calmodulin inhibits histone deacetylase 5 repressor core binding to myocyte enhancer factor 2.
Berger, I., Bieniossek, C., Schaffitzel, C., Hassler, M., Santelli, E. & Richmond, T.J.
J Biol Chem. 2003 May 16;278(20):17625-35. Epub 2003 Mar 6.
Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) proteins play a pivotal role in the differentiation of cardiac and skeletal muscle cells. MEF2 factors are regulated by histone deacetylase enzymes such as histone deacetylase 5 (HDAC5). HDAC5 in turn is responsive to Ca(2+) signaling mediated by the intracellular calcium sensor calmodulin. Here a combination of proteolytic fragmentation, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry, Edman degradation, circular dichroism, gel filtration, and surface plasmon resonance studies is utilized to define and characterize a stable core domain of HDAC5 and to examine its interactions with MEF2a and calmodulin. Results from real time binding experiments provide evidence for direct interaction of Ca(2+)/calmodulin with HDAC5 inhibiting MEF2a association with this enzyme.
In vitro generated antibodies specific for telomeric guanine-quadruplex DNA react with Stylonychia lemnae macronuclei.
Schaffitzel, C., Berger, I., Postberg, J., Hanes, J., Lipps, H.J. & Pluckthun, A.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jul 17;98(15):8572-7. Epub 2001 Jul 3.
Most eukaryotic telomeres contain a repeating motif with stretches of guanine residues that form a 3'-terminal overhang extending beyond the telomeric duplex region. The telomeric repeat of hypotrichous ciliates, d(T(4)G(4)), forms a 16-nucleotide 3'-overhang. Such sequences can adopt parallel-stranded as well as antiparallel-stranded quadruplex conformations in vitro. Although it has been proposed that guanine-quadruplex conformations may have important cellular roles including telomere function, recombination, and transcription, evidence for the existence of this DNA structure in vivo has been elusive to date. We have generated high-affinity single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) probes for the guanine-quadruplex formed by the Stylonychia telomeric repeat, by ribosome display from the Human Combinatorial Antibody Library. Of the scFvs selected, one (Sty3) had an affinity of K(d) = 125 pM for the parallel-stranded guanine-quadruplex and could discriminate with at least 1,000-fold specificity between parallel or antiparallel quadruplex conformations formed by the same sequence motif. A second scFv (Sty49) bound both the parallel and antiparallel quadruplex with similar (K(d) = 3--5 nM) affinity. Indirect immunofluorescence studies show that Sty49 reacts specifically with the macronucleus but not the micronucleus of Stylonychia lemnae. The replication band, the region where replication and telomere elongation take place, was also not stained, suggesting that the guanine-quadruplex is resolved during replication. Our results provide experimental evidence that the telomeres of Stylonychia macronuclei adopt in vivo a guanine-quadruplex structure, indicating that this structure may have an important role for telomere functioning.
Structural dynamics and cation interactions of DNA quadruplex molecules containing mixed guanine/cytosine quartets revealed by large-scale MD simulations.
Spackova, N., Berger, I. & Sponer, J.
J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Apr 11;123(14):3295-307.
Large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations have been utilized to study G-DNA quadruplex molecules containing mixed GCGC and all-guanine GGGG quartet layers. Incorporation of mixed GCGC quartets into G-DNA stems substantially enhances their sequence variability. The mixed quadruplexes form rigid assemblies that require integral monovalent cations for their stabilization. The interaction of cations with the all-guanine quartets is the leading contribution for the stability of the four-stranded assemblies, while the mixed quartets are rather tolerated within the structure. The simulations predict that two cations are preferred to stabilize a four-layer quadruplex stem composed of two GCGC and two all-guanine quartets. The distribution of cations in the structure is influenced by the position of the GCGC quartets within the quadruplex, the presence and arrangement of thymidine loops connecting the guanine/cytosine stretches forming the stems, and the cation type present (Na(+) or K(+)). The simulations identify multiple nanosecond-scale stable arrangements of the thymidine loops present in the molecules investigated. In these thymidine loops, several structured pockets are identified capable of temporarily coordinating cations. However, no stable association of cations to a loop has been observed. The simulations reveal several paths through the thymidine loop regions that can be followed by the cations when exchanging between the central ion channel in the quadruplex stem and the surrounding solvent. We have carried out 20 independent simulations while the length of simulations reaches a total of 90 ns, rendering this study one of the most extensive MD investigations carried out on nucleic acids so far. The trajectories provide a largely converged characterization of the structural dynamics of these four-stranded G-DNA molecules.
Inter-strand C-H...O hydrogen bonds stabilizing four-stranded intercalated molecules: stereoelectronic effects of O4' in cytosine-rich DNA.
Berger, I., Egli, M. & Rich, A.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 29;93(22):12116-21.
DNA fragments with stretches of cytosine residues can fold into four-stranded structures in which two parallel duplexes, held together by hemiprotonated cytosine.cytosine+ (C.C+) base pairs, intercalate into each other with opposite polarity. The structural details of this intercalated DNA quadruplex have been assessed by solution NMR and single crystal x-ray diffraction studies of cytosine-rich sequences, including those present in metazoan telomeres. A conserved feature of these structures is the absence of stabilizing stacking interactions between the aromatic ring systems of adjacent C.C+ base pairs from intercalated duplexes. Effective stacking involves only the exocyclic keto groups and amino groups of the cytidine bases. The apparent absence of stability provided by stacking interactions between the bases in this intercalated DNA has prompted us to examine the available structures in detail, in particular with regard to unusual features that could compensate for the lack of base stacking. In addition to base-on-deoxyribose stacking and intra-cytidine C-H...O hydrogen bonds, this analysis reveals the presence of a hitherto unobserved, systematic intermolecular C-H...O hydrogen bonding network between the deoxyribose sugar moieties of antiparallel backbones in the four-stranded molecule.
Crystal structure of the T4 regA translational regulator protein at 1.9 A resolution.
Kang, C., Chan, R., Berger, I., Lockshin, C., Green, L., Gold, L. & Rich, A.
Science. 1995 May 26;268(5214):1170-3.
The translational regulator protein regA is encoded by the T4 bacteriophage and binds to a region of messenger RNA (mRNA) that includes the initiator codon. RegA is unusual in that it represses the translation of about 35 early T4 mRNAs but does not affect nearly 200 other mRNAs. The crystal structure of regA was determined at 1.9 A resolution; the protein was shown to have an alpha-helical core and two regions with antiparallel beta sheets. One of these beta sheets has four antiparallel strands and has some sequence homology to RNP-1 and RNP-2, which are believed to be RNA-binding motifs and are found in a number of known RNA-binding proteins. Structurally guided mutants may help to uncover the basis for this variety of RNA interaction.