Recombinant Unique Cartilage Matrix-associated Protein Potentiates Osteogenic Differentiation and Mineralization of MC3T3-E1 Cells

Objective: The relative balance of osteoblasts in bone formation and osteoclasts in bone resorption is crucial for maintaining bone health. With age, this balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts is broken, resulting in bone loss. Anabolic drugs are continuously being developed to counteract this low bone mass.
Recombinant proteins are used as biotherapeutics due to being relatively easy to produce on a large scale and are cost-effective through various expression systems. This study aimed to develop a recombinant protein that would positively impact osteoblast differentiation and mineralized nodule formation using unique cartilage matrix-associated protein (UCMA).
Methods: recombinant glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-UCMA fusion protein was generated in an E.coli system, and purified by affinity chromatography. MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cells and Osterix (Osx)-knockdown stable cells were cultured for 14 days to investigate osteoblast differentiation and nodule formation in the presence of the recombinant GST-UCMA protein.
The differentiated cells were assessed by alizarin red S staining and quantitative PCR of the osteoblast differentiation marker osteocalcin. In addition, cell viability in the presence of the recombinant GST-UCMA protein was determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and cell adhesion assay.
Results: The isolation of both purified recombinant GST-only and GST-UCMA proteins were confirmed at 26 kDa and 34 kDa, respectively, by Coomassie staining and western blot analysis. Neither dose-dependent nor time-dependent presence of recombinant GSTUCMA affected MC3T3-E1 cell viability. However, MC3T3-E1 cell adhesion to the recombinant GST-UCMA protein increased dose-dependently. Osteoblast differentiation and nodule formation were promoted in both MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cells and Osxknockdown stable cells when cultured in the presence of recombinant GST-UCMA protein.
Conclusion: recombinant GST-UCMA protein induces osteogenic differentiation and mineralization, suggesting its potential use as an anabolic drug to increase low bone mass in osteoporotic patients.

Heterologous expression and purification of recombinant human protoporphyrinogen oxidase IX: A comparative study

Human protoporphyrinogen oxidase IX (hPPO) is an oxygen-dependent enzyme catalyzing the penultimate step in the heme biosynthesis pathway. Mutations in the enzyme are linked to variegate porphyria, an autosomal dominant metabolic disease. Here we investigated eukaryotic cells as alternative systems for heterologous expression of hPPO, as the use of a traditional bacterial-based system failed to produce several clinically relevant hPPO variants. Using bacterially-produced hPPO, we first analyzed the impact of N-terminal tags and various detergent on hPPO yield, and specific activity.
Next, the established protocol was used to compare hPPO constructs heterologously expressed in mammalian HEK293T17 and insect Hi5 cells with prokaryotic overexpression. By attaching various fusion partners at the N- and C-termini of hPPO we also evaluated the influence of the size and positioning of fusion partners on expression levels, specific activity, and intracellular targeting of hPPO fusions in mammalian cells.
Overall, our results suggest that while enzymatically active hPPO can be heterologously produced in eukaryotic systems, the limited availability of the intracellular FAD co-factor likely negatively influences yields of a correctly folded protein making thus the E.coli a system of choice for recombinant hPPO overproduction. At the same time, PPO overexpression in eukaryotic cells might be preferrable in cases when the effects of post-translational modifications (absent in bacteria) on target protein functions are studied.

Expression and Refolding of the Plant Chitinase From Drosera capensis for Applications as a Sustainable and Integrated Pest Management

Recently, the study of chitinases has become an important target of numerous research projects due to their potential for applications, such as biocontrol pest agents. Plant chitinases from carnivorous plants of the genus Drosera are most aggressive against a wide range of phytopathogens. However, low solubility or insolubility of the target protein hampered application of chitinases as biofungicides.
  • To obtain plant chitinase from carnivorous plants of the genus Drosera in soluble form in E.coli expression strains, three different approaches including dialysis, rapid dilution, and refolding on Ni-NTA agarose to renaturation were tested.
  • The developed « Rapid dilution » protocol with renaturation buffer supplemented by 10% glycerol and 2M arginine in combination with the redox pair of reduced/oxidized glutathione, increased the yield of active soluble protein to 9.5 mg per 1 g of wet biomass.
  • A structure-based removal of free cysteines in the core domain based on homology modeling of the structure was carried out in order to improve the soluble of chitinase. One improved chitinase variant (C191A/C231S/C286T) was identified which shows improved expression and solubility in E. coli expression systems compared to wild type.
  • Computational analyzes of the wild-type and the improved variant revealed overall higher fluctuations of the structure while maintaining a global protein stability. It was shown that free cysteines on the surface of the protein globule which are not involved in the formation of inner disulfide bonds contribute to the insolubility of chitinase from Drosera capensis.
  • The functional characteristics showed that chitinase exhibits high activity against colloidal chitin (360 units/g) and high fungicidal properties of recombinant chitinases against Parastagonospora nodorum. Latter highlights the application of chitinase from D. capensis as a promising enzyme for the control of fungal pathogens in agriculture.

Structural and Functional Impairments of Reconstituted High-Density Lipoprotein by Incorporation of Recombinant β-Amyloid42

Beta (β)-amyloid (Aβ) is a causative protein of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In the pathogenesis of AD, the apolipoprotein (apo) A-I and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism is essential for the clearance of Aβ. In this study, recombinant Aβ42 was expressed and purified via the pET-30a expression vector and E.coli production system to elucidate the physiological effects of Aβ on HDL metabolism. The recombinant human Aβ protein (51 aa) was purified to at least 95% purity and characterized in either the lipid-free and lipid-bound states with apoA-I.
Aβ was incorporated into the reconstituted HDL (rHDL) (molar ratio 95:5:1, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC):cholesterol:apoA-I) with various apoA-I:Aβ ratios from 1:0 to 1:0.5, 1:1 and 1:2. With an increasing molar ratio of Aβ, the α-helicity of apoA-I was decreased from 62% to 36% with a red shift of the Trp wavelength maximum fluorescence from 337 to 340 nm in apoA-I. The glycation reaction of apoA-I was accelerated further by the addition of Aβ. The treatment of fructose and Aβ caused more multimerization of apoA-I in the lipid-free state and in HDL.
The phospholipid-binding ability of apoA-I was impaired severely by the addition of Aβ in a dose-dependent manner. The phagocytosis of LDL into macrophages was accelerated more by the presence of Aβ with the production of more oxidized species. Aβ severely impaired tissue regeneration, and a microinjection of Aβ enhanced embryotoxicity. In conclusion, the beneficial functions of apoA-I and HDL were severely impaired by the addition of Aβ via its detrimental effect on secondary structure. The impairment of HDL functionality occurred more synergistically by means of the co-addition of fructose and Aβ.

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