Substituted Cysteine Accessibility Method for Topology and Activity Studies of Membrane Enzymes Forming Thioester Acyl Intermediates in Bacteria

Abstract : The topology of membrane proteins and enzymes can be determined using various methods including reporter protein fusions and accessibility of cysteine residues to alkylating agents. Here we describe a variation of the substituted cysteine accessibility method to determine membrane topology and activity of enzymes containing an active site cysteine. Membrane topology of proteins can be predicted using different programs and the actual membrane topology can be determined by monitoring the accessibility of cysteine residues introduced in periplasmic (exposed) or cytoplasmic (not exposed) loops to alkylating agents. A two-step protocol is described where whole Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells are first treated with or without a membrane impermeable thiol reagent (2-sulfonatoethyl)-methane thiosulfonate (MTSES) and subsequently labeled with an alkylating reagent maleimide polyethyleneglycol (malPEG). When cysteine residues are accessible to MTSES, and thus exposed to (or accessible from) the periplasm, their free thiol groups covalently react with MTSES and consequently, are blocked for alkylation with malPEG. The thiol groups of cytoplasmic or membrane-embedded cysteine residues are not accessible to MTSES and proteins can be alkylated with malPEG resulting in an increase in molecular weight of 5 kDa. In the second part of the protocol, accessibility of cysteine residues is used to address the acylation state of enzymes that form stable thioester acyl intermediates. Thioesters can be specifically cleaved by neutral hydroxylamine, leading to a free thiol group of the active site cysteine that can then be alkylated with malPEG.
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Sébastien Gélis-Jeanvoine, Nienke Buddelmeijer. Substituted Cysteine Accessibility Method for Topology and Activity Studies of Membrane Enzymes Forming Thioester Acyl Intermediates in Bacteria. Protocole dans Bio-Protocol. 2015, 〈10.21769/BioProtoc.1640〉. 〈pasteur-01407723〉

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