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J Vis Exp January 1, 2017; (123):

Voltage-clamp Fluorometry in Xenopus Oocytes Using Fluorescent Unnatural Amino Acids.

Kalstrup T , Blunck R .

Voltage-Clamp Fluorometry (VCF) has been the technique of choice to investigate the structure and function of electrogenic membrane proteins where real-time measurements of fluorescence and currents simultaneously report on local rearrangements and global function, respectively 1 . While high-resolution structural techniques such as cryo-electron microscopy or X-ray crystallography provide static images of the proteins of interest, VCF provides dynamic structural data that allows us to link the structural rearrangements (fluorescence) to dynamic functional data (electrophysiology). Until recently, the thiol-reactive chemistry used for site-directed fluorescent labeling of the proteins restricted the scope of the approach because all accessible cysteines, including endogenous ones, will be labeled. It was thus required to construct proteins free of endogenous cysteines. Labeling was also restricted to sites accessible from the extracellular side. This changed with the use of Fluorescent Unnatural Amino Acids (fUAA) to specifically incorporate a small fluorescent probe in response to stop codon suppression using an orthogonal tRNA and tRNA synthetase pair 2 . The VCF improvement only requires a two-step injection procedure of DNA injection (tRNA/synthetase pair) followed by RNA/fUAA co-injection. Now, labelling both intracellular and buried sites is possible, and the use of VCF has expanded significantly. The VCF technique thereby becomes attractive for studying a wide range of proteins and - more importantly - allows investigating numerous cytosolic regulatory mechanisms.

PubMed ID: 28605379
PMC ID: PMC5608152
Article link: J Vis Exp
Grant support: MOP-102689 Canadian Institutes for Health Research , MOP-136894 Canadian Institutes for Health Research

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