Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.307, No.4, 928-934, 2003
High-throughput expression, purification, and characterization of recombinant Caenorhabditis elegans proteins
Modern proteomics approaches include techniques to examine the expression, localization, modifications, and complex formation of proteins in cells. In order to address issues of protein function in vitro using classical biochemical and biophysical approaches, high-throughput methods of cloning the appropriate reading frames, and expressing and purifying proteins efficiently are an important goal of modern proteomics approaches. This process becomes more difficult as functional protcomics efforts focus on the proteins from higher organisms, since issues of correctly identifying intron-exon boundaries and efficiently expressing and solubilizing the (often) multi-domain proteins from higher eukaryotes are challenging. Recently, 12,000 open-reading-frame (ORF) sequences from Caenorhabditis elegans have become available for functional proteomics studies [Nat. Gen. 34 (2003) 35]. We have implemented a high-throughput screening procedure to express, purify, and analyze by mass spectrometry hexa-histidine-tagged C elegans ORFs in Escherichia coli using metal affinity ZipTips. We find that over 65% of the expressed proteins are of the correct mass as analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption MS. Many of the remaining proteins indicated to be "incorrect" can be explained by high-throughput cloning or genome database annotation errors. This provides a general understanding of the expected error rates in such high-throughput cloning projects. The ZipTip purified proteins can be further analyzed under both native and denaturing conditions for functional proteomics efforts. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.