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Cycloheximide Chase Analysis of Protein Degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Published: April 18th, 2016



1Department of Biology, Ball State University, 2Bioproduct Research & Development, Eli Lilly and Company

Protein abundance reflects the rates of both protein synthesis and protein degradation. This article describes the use of cycloheximide chase followed by western blotting to analyze protein degradation in the model unicellular eukaryote, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast).

Regulation of protein abundance is crucial to virtually every cellular process. Protein abundance reflects the integration of the rates of protein synthesis and protein degradation. Many assays reporting on protein abundance (e.g., single-time point western blotting, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, or growth-based reporter assays) do not allow discrimination of the relative effects of translation and proteolysis on protein levels. This article describes the use of cycloheximide chase followed by western blotting to specifically analyze protein degradation in the model unicellular eukaryote, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast). In this procedure, yeast cells are incubated in the presence of the translational inhibitor cycloheximide. Aliquots of cells are collected immediately after and at specific time points following addition of cycloheximide. Cells are lysed, and the lysates are separated by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis for western blot analysis of protein abundance at each time point. The cycloheximide chase procedure permits visualization of the degradation kinetics of the steady state population of a variety of cellular proteins. The procedure may be used to investigate the genetic requirements for and environmental influences on protein degradation.

Proteins perform crucial functions in virtually every cellular process. Many physiological processes require the presence of a specific protein (or proteins) for a defined period of time or under particular circumstances. Organisms therefore monitor and regulate protein abundance to meet cellular needs 1. For example, cyclins (proteins that control cell division) are present at specific phases of the cell cycle, and the loss of regulated cyclin levels has been associated with malignant tumor formation 2. In addition to regulating protein levels to meet cellular needs, cells employ degradative quality control mechanisms to eliminate misfolded, una....

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1. Growth and Harvest of Yeast Cells

  1. If not analyzing degradation kinetics of an endogenous yeast protein, transform desired yeast strain(s) with a plasmid encoding the protein of interest. Reliable methods for yeast transformation have been previously described 37.
  2. Inoculate yeast in 5 ml of appropriate medium (e.g., selective synthetic defined (SD) medium for plasmid maintenance of transformed cells or non-selective yeast extract-peptone-dextrose (YPD) medium for non-transforme.......

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To illustrate cycloheximide chase methodology, the stability of Deg1-Sec62 (Figure 1), a model yeast endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) substrate, was analyzed 42-44. In ERAD, quality control ubiquitin ligase enzymes covalently attach chains of the small protein ubiquitin to aberrant proteins localized to the ER membrane. Such polyubiquitylated proteins are subsequently removed from the ER and degraded by the proteasome, a large, .......

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In this paper, a method for analyzing protein degradation kinetics is presented. This technique can be readily applied to a range of proteins degraded by a variety of mechanisms. It is important to note that cycloheximide chase experiments report on degradation kinetics of the steady state pool of a given protein. Other techniques may be used to analyze the degradation kinetics of specific populations of proteins. For example, the degradative fate of nascent polypeptides can be tracked by pulse chase analysis 55

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The authors thank current and former members of the Rubenstein lab for providing a supportive and enthusiastic research environment. The authors thank Mark Hochstrasser (Yale University) for sharing reagents and expertise. E.M.R. thanks Stefan Kreft (University of Konstanz) and Jennifer Bruns (University of Pittsburgh) for sharing invaluable expertise in kinetic analysis of proteins. This work was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant (R15 GM111713) to E.M.R., a Ball State University ASPiRE research award to E.M.R, a research award from the Ball State University chapter of Sigma Xi to S.M.E., and funds from the Ball State University Provost's Office and D....

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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Desired yeast strains, plasmids, standard medium and buffer components
Disposable borosilicate glass tubes Fisher Scientific 14-961-32 Available from a variety of manufacturers
Temperature-regulated incubator (e.g. Heratherm Incubator Model IMH180) Dot Scientific 51028068 Available from a variety of manufacturers
New Brunswick Interchangeable Drum for 18 mm tubes (tube roller) New Brunswick M1053-0450 A tube roller is recommended to maintain overnight  starter cultures of yeast cells in suspension. Alternatively, if a tube roller is unavailable, a platform shaker in a temperature-controlled incubator may be used for overnight starter cultures. A platform shaker or tube roller may be used to maintain larger cultures in suspension.
New Brunswick TC-7 Roller Drum 120V 50/60 H New Brunswick M1053-4004 For use with tube roller
SmartSpec Plus Spectrophotometer Bio-Rad 170-2525 Available from a variety of manufacturers
Centrifuge 5430 Eppendorf 5427 000.216  Rotor that is sold with unit holds 1.5- and 2.0-ml microcentrifuge tubes. Rotor may be swapped for one that holds 15- and 50-ml conical tubes
Fixed-Angle Rotor F-35-6-30 with Lid and Adapters for Centrifuge Model 5430/R, 15/50 mL Conical Tubes, 6-Place Eppendorf F-35-6-30
15-ml screen printed screw cap tube 17 x 20 mm conical, polypropylene Sarstedt 62.554.205 Available from a variety of manufacturers
1.5-ml flex-tube, PCR clean, natural microcentrifuge tubes Eppendorf 22364120 Available from a variety of manufacturers
Analog Dri-Bath Heaters Fisher Scientific 1172011AQ It is recomended that two heaters are available (one for incubating cells during cycloheximide treatment and one for boiling lysates to denature proteins). Alternatively, 30 °C water bath may be used for incubation of cells in the presence of cycloheximide. Boiling water bath with hot plate may altertnatively be used to denature proteins.
Heating block for 12 x 15-ml conical tubes Fisher Scientific 11-473-70 For use with Dri-Bath Heater during incubation of cells in the presence of cycloheximide.
Heating block for 20 x 1.5-ml conical tubes Fisher Scientific 11-718-9Q For use with Dri-Bath Heater to boil lysates for protein denaturation.
SDS-PAGE running and transfer apparatuses, power supplies, and imaging equipment or darkrooms for SDS-PAGE and transfer to membrane Will vary by lab and application
Western blot imaging system (e.g. Li-Cor Odyssey CLx scanner and Image Studio Software) Li-Cor 9140-01 Will vary by lab and application
EMD Millipore Immobilon PVDF Transfer Membranes Fisher Scientific IPFL00010 Will vary by lab and application
Primary antibodies (e.g. Phosphoglycerate Kinase (Pgk1) Monoclonal antibody, mouse (clone 22C5D8)) Life Technologies 459250 Will vary by lab and application
Secondary antibodies (e.g. Alexa-Fluor 680 Rabbit Anti-Mouse IgG (H+L)) Life Technologies A-21065 Will vary by lab and application

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