LR11 (SorLA) is a recently identified neuronal protein that interacts with amyloid precursor protein (APP), a central player in the pathology of the Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Current estimates suggest that as many as 5.3 million Americans are living with AD. Recent investigations have uncovered the pathophysiological relevance of APP intracellular trafficking in AD. LR11 is of particular importance due to its role in regulating APP transport and processing. LR11 is a type I transmembrane protein and belongs to a novel family of Vps10p receptors. Using a new expression vector, pMTTH (MBP-MCS1 (multiple cloning site)-Thrombin protease cleavage site-MCS2-TEV protease cleavage site-MCS3-His6), we successfully expressed, purified and reconstituted the LR11 transmembrane (TM) and cytoplasmic (CT) domains into bicelles and detergent micelles for NMR structural studies. This new construct allowed us to overcome several obstacles during sample preparation. MBP fused LR11TM and LR11TMCT proteins are preferably expressed at high levels in Escherichia coli membrane, making a refolding of the protein unnecessary. The C-terminal His-tag allows for easy separation of the target protein from the truncated products from the C-terminus, and provides a convenient route for screening detergents to produce high quality 2D 1H-15N TROSY spectra. Thrombin protease cleavage is compatible with most of the commonly used detergents, including a direct cleavage at the E. coli membrane surface. This new MBP construct may provide an effective route for the preparation of small proteins with TM domains.
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