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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

In vitro translation in a cell-free system from Trypanosoma brucei yields glycosylated and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins.

African trypanosomes escape many cellular and unspecific immune reactions by the expression of a protective barrier formed from a repertoire of several hundred genes encoding immunologically distinct variant surface glycoproteins (VSGs). All mature VSGs are glycosylphosphatidylionositol-anchored and N-glycosylated. To study trypanosome-specific post-translational modifications of VSG, a cell-free system capable of in vitro translation, translocation into the rough endoplasmic reticulum, N-glycosylation and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchor addition was established using lysates of the bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei. Monitoring protein synthesis by [35S]methionine incorporation, labeled protein bands were readily detected by fluorography following SDS/PAGE. Appearance of these bands increased during a time-course of 45 min and was sensitive to cycloheximide but not chloramphenicol treatment. Efficiency of this system, in terms of incorporation of radiolabeled amino acids into newly formed proteins, is similar to reticulocyte lysates. The system does not, however, allow initiation of protein synthesis. Depending on the clone used, immunoprecipitation revealed one or two newly formed VSG bands. Upon digestion with N-glycosidase F these bands resulted in a single band of a lower apparent molecular mass, indicating that newly synthesized VSG underwent translocation and glycosylation in the cell-free system. Biotinylation of VSG and a combination of precipitation with immobilized avidin and detection of VSG using antibodies specific for clones and cross-reacting determinants revealed that newly formed VSG contained the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor.[1]


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