Improving bioorthogonal protein ubiquitylation by click reaction.

Abstract:

Posttranslational modification of proteins with ubiquitin (ubiquitylation) regulates numerous cellular processes. Besides functioning as a signal for proteasomal degradation, ubiquitylation has also non-proteolytic functions by altering the biochemical properties of the modified protein. To investigate the effect(s) of ubiquitylation on the properties of a protein, sufficient amounts of homogenously and well-defined ubiquitylated proteins are required. Here, we report on the elaboration of a method for the generation of high amounts of site-specifically mono-ubiquitylated proteins. Firstly, a one-step affinity purification scheme was developed for ubiquitin containing the unnatural amino acid azidohomoalanine at the C-terminal position. This ubiquitin was conjugated in a click reaction to recombinant DNA polymerase β, equipped with an alkyne function at a distinct position. Secondly, addition of defined amounts of SDS to the reaction significantly improved product formation. With these two technical improvements, we have developed a straight forward procedure for the efficient generation of site-specifically ubiquitylated proteins that can be used to study the effect(s) of ubiquitylation on the activities/properties of a protein.

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