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

Purification and functional characterization of membranes derived from the rough endoplasmic reticulum of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Isolation and biochemical analysis of the components involved in protein translocation into the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) requires starting material highly enriched in membranes derived from this organelle. We have chosen to study the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in order to profit from the ease of genetic manipulation. To date, however, no efficient scheme has been devised that allows the purification of functional rough ER-derived membranes from yeast, largely because proteins have yet to be identified that are rough ER-specific. In the experiments described here, we expressed the human rough ER marker ribophorin I to facilitate the analysis of subcellular fractionation. We found that the endoplasmic reticulum of yeast could be separated into two distinct domains by fractionation on continuous sucrose gradients. This procedure revealed a bimodal distribution of ER markers. The yeast homologue of the heavy chain-binding protein, BiP (encoded by the KAR2 gene), and the product of the SEC62 gene were present in two fractions having equilibrium densities of 1.146 and 1.192 g/ml, respectively. In contrast, our analysis showed that preprotein translocation activity and retention of the rough ER-specific protein ribophorin I were specific only to the membrane fraction with an equilibrium density of 1.192 g/ml. To prepare fractions highly enriched in translocation competent rough ER-derived membranes for analysis, we developed a density shift fractionation scheme that optimizes the purity of membranes containing human ribophorin I. Membranes obtained by this method were found to possess the majority of the appropriate functional markers, including ATP-independent preprotein binding, ribosome binding, and post-translational translocation. Mitochondria, the major contaminant of the 1.192 g/ml fraction, were significantly depleted in density-shifted membrane populations.[1]


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