Infoscience

Thesis

Miniaturized bioanalytics to probe the function of membrane proteins

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the most abundant class of proteins in the cell body. Such receptors are of major interest as potential therapeutic targets. Downscaling and parallelization of bioanalytics opens novel routes to rapidly screen and identify potential drugs with a decrease in regard to the costs, and elucidate novel functions of signaling networks under physiological conditions. Native vesicles are small autonomous biological containers, which are efficiently produced from all cell lines. They are composed of their mother cell plasma membrane and enclose part of their cytoplasm. Membrane receptors are then exposed at their surface and already demonstrate to induce cellular signaling when exposed to receptor ligands. Native vesicles were investigated in this present work, as novel possibilities to downscale receptor investigation in live cells, using neurokinin 1 receptor (NK1R) as a representative model. Here native vesicle production and purification was optimized. The influence of the cell cycle on the production efficiency was demonstrated. Biological proteins were downregulated in order to produce blebbing cells. Native vesicle characterization was achieved. The receptors also demonstrate to be efficiently labeled by agonist and antagonist, allowing to access information about the binding kinetics as well as KD values. The results are in agreement with those obtained in live cells. Native vesicles also demonstrate to internalize agonist after application, demonstrating receptor desensitization and signaling performance similar as live cells. Confocal microscopy shows that cells expressing the NK1R-CFP have two binding affinities for their main agonist, substance P. Similar results could be observed with flow cytometry. The high affinity binding is related to cholesterol content in the cell membrane and was abolished by cholesterol depletion with methyl-β-cyclodextrin. Micro-contact printing (µCP) was used to (bio)functionalize surfaces with proteins, polymers or functionalized nanoparticles. Precise sample positioning by micro-contact printing shows improves nuclear magnetic resonance excitation and detection, when performed with a planar microcoil probe. µCP was used to produce native vesicle arrays by two procedures, and fluorescent binding assay shows the binding of fluorescent ligands to the receptor. Laser tweezers allow manipulating cell membranes without requiring the use of polystyrene beads. From pulled membranes, native vesicles were produced. In addition from pulled membranes, large tethers were produced and artificial connections were established with neighboring cells. Intercellular communication was investigated by whole-cell patch clamp in dissociated primary dorsal root ganglion neurons after optical induced connection, as well as in HEK cells expressing Cx36. The lab-on-chip assay development demonstrates: the high production of native vesicles in microchannels; the efficient purification obtained by negative dielectrophoresis depletion in MEMS chips; perfect trapping and thus immobilization of native vesicles in a new optical multi-tweezer array. Fluorescence labeling was performed with native vesicles trapped in a multi-tweezer array inside microfluidic channel in the presence of two laminar flows. Optical multi-tweezer array setup shows to be the fastest and more efficient technique in order to perform immobilization and labeling of native vesicles in the microfluidic channel. It is presently the only technique to perform fluorescence measurements when maintaining objects trapped.

Related material