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Methods Mol Biol. 2008;418:63-72.

Functionality screen of streptavidin mutants by non-denaturing SDS-PAGE using biotin-4-fluorescein.

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Institute of Chemistry, University of Neuchatel, Neuchatel, Switzerland.


Site-directed mutagenesis or directed evolution of proteins often leads to the production of inactive mutants. For streptavidin and related proteins, mutations may lead to the loss of their biotin-binding properties. With high-throughput screening methodologies in mind, it is imperative to detect, prior to the high-density protein production, the bacteria that produce non-functional streptavidin isoforms. Based on the incorporation of biotin-4-fluorescein in streptavidin mutants present in Escherichia coli bacterial extracts, we detail a functional screen that allows the identification of biotin-binding streptavidin variants. Bacteria are cultivated in a small volume, followed by a rapid treatment of the cells; biotin-4-fluorescein is added to the bacterial extract and loaded on an Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Poly-Acrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) under non-denaturing conditions. Revealing is performed using a UV transilluminator. This screen is thus easy to implement, cheap and requires only readily available equipment.

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