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Isolation of F1-ATPase from the Parasitic Protist Trypanosoma brucei

Published: January 22nd, 2019



1Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Science, Institute of Parasitology, 2Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia

This protocol describes the purification of F1-ATPase from the cultured insect stage of Trypanosoma brucei. The procedure yields a highly pure, homogeneous, and active complex suitable for structural and enzymatic studies.

F1-ATPase is a membrane-extrinsic catalytic subcomplex of F-type ATP synthase, an enzyme that uses the proton motive force across biological membranes to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The isolation of the intact F1-ATPase from its native source is an essential prerequisite to characterize the enzyme's protein composition, kinetic parameters, and sensitivity to inhibitors. A highly pure and homogeneous F1-ATPase can be used for structural studies, which provide insight into molecular mechanisms of ATP synthesis and hydrolysis. This article describes a procedure for the purification of the F1-ATPase from Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African trypanosomiases. The F1-ATPase is isolated from mitochondrial vesicles, which are obtained by hypotonic lysis from in vitro cultured trypanosomes. The vesicles are mechanically fragmented by sonication and the F1-ATPase is released from the inner mitochondrial membrane by the chloroform extraction. The enzymatic complex is further purified by consecutive anion exchange and size-exclusion chromatography. Sensitive mass spectrometry techniques showed that the purified complex is devoid of virtually any protein contaminants and, therefore, represents suitable material for structure determination by X-ray crystallography or cryo-electron microscopy. The isolated F1-ATPase exhibits ATP hydrolytic activity, which can be inhibited fully by sodium azide, a potent inhibitor of F-type ATP synthases. The purified complex remains stable and active for at least three days at room temperature. Precipitation by ammonium sulfate is used for long-term storage. Similar procedures have been used for the purification of F1-ATPases from mammalian and plant tissues, yeasts, or bacteria. Thus, the presented protocol can serve as a guideline for the F1-ATPase isolation from other organisms.

The F-type ATP synthases are membrane-bound rotating multiprotein complexes that couple proton translocation across energy-transducing membranes of bacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts with the formation of ATP. Molecular details of the rotational mechanism of ATP synthesis are known mainly because of structural studies of purified bacterial and mitochondrial ATP synthases and their subcomplexes1. F-type ATP synthase is organized into membrane-intrinsic and membrane-extrinsic moieties. The membrane-extrinsic part, known as F1-ATPase, contains three catalytic sites, where the phosphorylation of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to ATP o....

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1. Buffers and Solutions

  1. Prepare the solutions listed below. Degas all buffers for liquid chromatography. Add ADP, benzamidine, and protease inhibitors just before use.
    1. Prepare buffer A: 50 mM Tris buffer with hydrochloric acid (Tris-HCl) pH 8.0, 0.25 M sucrose, 5 mM benzamidine, 5 mM aminocaproic acid (ACA), and protease inhibitors (10 µM amastatin, 50 µM bestatin, 50 µM pepstatin, 50 µM leupeptin, and 50 µM diprotin A).
    2. Prepare buffer B: 50 mM Tris-HCl pH 8.0,.......

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A typical purification (Figure 1) starts with mitochondrial vesicles (mitoplasts) isolated on the Percoll gradient from hypotonically lysed 1 x 1011 to 2 x 1011 procyclic T. brucei cells25 cultured in standard glucose-rich SDM-79 medium27. The mitoplasts are fragmented by sonication, spun, and the matrix-containing supernatant is discarded. Mitochondrial membranes are treated with .......

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The protocol for F1-ATPase purification from T. brucei was developed based on previously published methods for the isolation of F1-ATPase complexes from other species13,14. The method does not require any genetic modification (e.g., tagging) and yields a fully active complex with all subunits present. The crucial step is the chloroform-facilitated release of the F1-ATPase from the membrane-attached part of the en.......

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This work was funded by the Ministry of Education ERC CZ grant LL1205, the Grant Agency of Czech Republic grant 18-17529S, and by ERDF/ESF project Centre for research of pathogenicity and virulence of parasites (No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000759).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Adenosin Diphosphate Disodium Salt (ADP) Applichem A0948
Amastatin Hydrochloride Glantham Life Sciences GA1330
Aminocaproic Acid Applichem A2266
BCA Protein Assay Kit ThermoFischer Scientific/Pierce 23225
Benzamidine Hydrochloride Calbiochem 199001
Bestatin Hydrochloride Sigma Aldrich/Merck B8385
Chloroform Any supplier
cOmplete Tablets, Mini EDTA-free Roche 4693159001 Protease inhibitor cocktail tablets
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA) Any supplier
Hydrochloric Acid Any supplier For pH adjustment
Ile-Pro-Ile Sigma Aldrich/Merck I9759 Alias Diprotin A
Leupeptin Sigma Aldrich/Merck L2884
Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate Any supplier
Pepstatin A Sigma Aldrich/Merck P5318
Protein Electrophoresis System Any supplier
Sodium Chloride Any supplier
Sucrose Any supplier
Tris Any supplier
Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Centrifuge Tubes for SW60Ti, Polyallomer Beckman Coulture 328874
DounceTissues Homogenizer 2 mL Any supplier
Glass Vacuum Filtration Device Sartorius 516-7017 Degasing solutions for liquid chromatography
HiTrap Q HP, 5 mL GE Healthcare Life Sciences 17115401 Anion exchange chromatography column
Regenaretad Cellulose Membrane Filters, pore size 0.45 μm, diameter 47 mm Sartorius 18406--47------N Degasing solutions for liquid chromatography
Superdex 200 Increase 10/300 GL GE Healthcare Life Sciences 29091596 Size-exclusion chromatography column
Vivaspin 6 MWCO 100 kDa PES Sartorius VS0641
Name Company Catalog Number Comments
AKTA Pure 25 GE Healthcare Life Sciences 29018224 Or similar FPLC system
Spectrophotometer Shimadzu UV-1601 Shimadzu Or similar spectrophotometer with kinetic assay mode
Ultracentrifuge Beckman Optima with SW60Ti Rotor Beckman Coulture Or similar ultracentrifuge and rotor
Ultrasonic Homogenizer with Thin Probe, Model 3000 BioLogics 0-127-0001 Or similar ultrasonic homogenizer

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