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ItemRecombinant expression in E. coli of human FGFR2 with its transmembrane and extracellular domains(PeerJ, 2017)Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) are a family of receptor tyrosine kinases containing three domains: an extracellular receptor domain, a single transmembrane helix, and an intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. FGFRs are activated by fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) as part of complex signal transduction cascades regulating angiogenesis, skeletal formation, cell differentiation, proliferation, cell survival, and cancer. We have developed the first recombinant expression system in E. coli to produce a construct of human FGFR2 containing its transmembrane and extracellular receptor domains. We demonstrate that the expressed construct is functional in binding heparin and dimerizing. Size exclusion chromatography demonstrates that the purified FGFR2 does not form a complex with FGF1 or adopts an inactive dimer conformation. Progress towards the successful recombinant production of intact FGFRs will facilitate further biochemical experiments and structure determination that will provide insight into how extracellular FGF binding activates intracellular kinase activity.
ItemA bright cyan-excitable orange fluorescent protein facilitates dual-emission microscopy and enhances bioluminescence imaging in vivo(Nature Biotechnology, 2016-05-30)Orange-red fluorescent proteins (FPs) are widely used in biomedical research for multiplexed epifluorescence microscopy with GFP-based probes, but their different excitation requirements make multiplexing with new advanced microscopy methods difficult. Separately, orange-red FPs are useful for deep-tissue imaging in mammals due to the relative tissue transmissibility of orange-red light, but their dependence on illumination limits their sensitivity as reporters in deep tissues. Here we describe CyOFP1, a bright engineered orange-red FP that is excitable by cyan light. We show that CyOFP1 enables single-excitation multiplexed imaging with GFP-based probes in single-photon and two-photon microscopy, including time-lapse imaging in light-sheet systems. CyOFP1 also serves as an efficient acceptor for resonance energy transfer from the highly catalytic blue-emitting luciferase NanoLuc. An optimized fusion of CyOFP1 and NanoLuc, called Antares, functions as a highly sensitive bioluminescent reporter in vivo, producing substantially brighter signals from deep tissues than firefly luciferase and other bioluminescent proteins.
ItemNon-invasive intravital imaging of cellular differentiation with a bright red-excitable fluorescent protein(Nature Methods, 2014-03-16)A method for non-invasive visualization of genetically labelled cells in animal disease models with micron-level resolution would greatly facilitate development of cell-based therapies. Imaging of fluorescent proteins (FPs) using red excitation light in the “optical window” above 600 nm is one potential method for visualizing implanted cells. However, previous efforts to engineer FPs with peak excitation beyond 600 nm have resulted in undesirable reductions in brightness. Here we report three new red-excitable monomeric FPs obtained by structure-guided mutagenesis of mNeptune, previously the brightest monomeric FP when excited beyond 600 nm. Two of these, mNeptune2 and mNeptune2.5, demonstrate improved maturation and brighter fluorescence, while the third, mCardinal, has a red-shifted excitation spectrum without reduction in brightness. We show that mCardinal can be used to non-invasively and longitudinally visualize the differentiation of myoblasts and stem cells into myocytes in living mice with high anatomical detail.