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Nat Protoc. 2008;3(5):784-98. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2008.44.

GFP-based optimization scheme for the overexpression and purification of eukaryotic membrane proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Membrane Protein Crystallography Group, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College of London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


It is often difficult to produce eukaryotic membrane proteins in large quantities, which is a major obstacle for analyzing their biochemical and structural features. To date, yeast has been the most successful heterologous overexpression system in producing eukaryotic membrane proteins for high-resolution structural studies. For this reason, we have developed a protocol for rapidly screening and purifying eukaryotic membrane proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using this protocol, in 1 week many genes can be rapidly cloned by homologous recombination into a 2 micro GFP-fusion vector and their overexpression potential determined using whole-cell and in-gel fluorescence. The quality of the overproduced eukaryotic membrane protein-GFP fusions can then be evaluated over several days using confocal microscopy and fluorescence size-exclusion chromatography (FSEC). This protocol also details the purification of targets that pass our quality criteria, and can be scaled up for a large number of eukaryotic membrane proteins in either an academic, structural genomics or commercial environment.

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