Send to

Choose Destination
Protein Sci. 2011 Oct;20(10):1697-706. doi: 10.1002/pro.703. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

A human sterile alpha motif domain polymerizome.

Author information

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA-DOE Institute of Genomics and Proteomics, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain is one of the most common protein modules found in eukaryotic genomes. Many SAM domains have been shown to form helical polymer structures suggesting that SAM modules can be used to create large protein complexes in the cell. Because many polymeric SAM domains form heterogenous and insoluble aggregates that are experimentally intractable when isolated, it is likely that many polymeric SAM domains have gone uncharacterized. We, therefore, developed a method to maintain polymeric SAM domains in a soluble form that allowed rapid screening for potential SAM polymers. SAM domains were expressed as fusions to a super-negatively charged green fluorescent protein (negGFP). The negGFP imparts three useful properties to the SAM domains: (1) the charge helps to maintain solubility; (2) the charge leads to reliable migration toward the cathode on native gels; and (3) the fluorescence emission allows visualization in crude extracts. Using the negGFP-SAM fusions, we screened a large library of human SAM domains for polymerization using a native gel screen. A selected set of hSAM domains were then purified and examined for true polymer formation by electron microscopy. In this manner, we identified a set of new potential SAM polymers: ANKS3, Atherin, BicaudalC1, Caskin1, Caskin2, Kazrin, L3MBTL3, L3MBTL4, LBP, LiprinB1, LiprinB2, SAMD8, SAMD9, and STIM2. While further characterization will be necessary to verify that the SAM domains identified here truly form polymers, our results provide a much stronger working hypothesis for a large number of proteins that was possible from sequence analysis alone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center