Protein expression and purification

Structures of septin filaments prepared from rat brain and expressed in bacteria.

PMID 23137941


Septin forms a conserved family of cytoskeletal GTP-binding proteins that have diverse roles in protein scaffolding, vesicle trafficking and cytokinesis. There are 14 mammalian septin isoforms and these isoforms assemble into hetero-oligomeric rod-shaped complexes and these short filaments are the basal units to construct higher-order structures such as longer filaments, rings, gauzes or hourglasses. Septin expressed in a eukaryotic expression system forms various structures such as bundles, sheets, helixes, and rings. Septin expressed in bacteria formed hexameric short filaments and single or parallel long filaments, but no such higher order structures were observed so far. In a previous study, we showed maturation-dependent localization of septin isoforms to the lipid raft fraction of rat brain. In this study, we attempted further purification of raft-localized septin isoforms. Repeated cycles of extraction with high MgCl(2) solution and precipitation under low ionic solution were combined with several column procedures. The obtained fraction contained several septin isoforms and showed rings of bundled filaments with a diameter of ~0.4μm. Several non-septin proteins were also detected in the fraction. We also attempted expression of septin isoforms in bacteria and found that the expressed septin complexes formed bundles of filaments. In addition to linear and curled filaments, circular bundles of thin filaments with a diameter of ~0.6μm were also observed. These results suggest that the curvature of the bundles of septin filaments may be regulated by the regulatory factor(s) in the lipid raft.