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  1. Abstract

    The cellular environment is dynamic and complex, involving thousands of different macromolecules with total concentrations of hundreds of grams per liter. However, most biochemistry is conducted in dilute buffer where the concentration of macromolecules is less than 10 g/L. High concentrations of macromolecules affect protein stability, function, and protein complex formation, but to understand these phenomena fully we need to know the concentration of the test protein in cells. Here, we quantify the concentration of an overexpressed recombinant protein, a variant of the B1 domain of protein G, in Tuner (DE3)™Escherichia colicells as a function of inducer concentration. We find that the protein expression level is controllable, and expression saturates at over 2 mMupon induction with 0.4 mMisopropyl β‐d‐thiogalactoside. We discuss the results in terms of what can and cannot be learned from in‐cell protein NMR studies inE. coli.

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  2. Abstract

    Protein‐based biological drugs and many industrial enzymes are unstable, making them prohibitively expensive. Some can be stabilized by formulation with excipients, but most still require low temperature storage. In search of new, more robust excipients, we turned to the tardigrade, a microscopic animal that synthesizes cytosolic abundant heat soluble (CAHS) proteins to protect its cellular components during desiccation. We find that CAHS proteins protect the test enzymes lactate dehydrogenase and lipoprotein lipase against desiccation‐, freezing‐, and lyophilization‐induced deactivation. Our data also show that a variety of globular and disordered protein controls, with no known link to desiccation tolerance, protect our test enzymes. Protection of lactate dehydrogenase correlates, albeit imperfectly, with the charge density of the protein additive, suggesting an approach to tune protection by modifying charge. Our results support the potential use of CAHS proteins as stabilizing excipients in formulations and suggest that other proteins may have similar potential.

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  3. Protein–protein interactions are essential for life but rarely thermodynamically quantified in living cells. In vitro efforts show that protein complex stability is modulated by high concentrations of cosolutes, including synthetic polymers, proteins, and cell lysates via a combination of hard-core repulsions and chemical interactions. We quantified the stability of a model protein complex, the A34F GB1 homodimer, in buffer,Escherichia colicells andXenopus laevisoocytes. The complex is more stable in cells than in buffer and more stable in oocytes thanE. coli. Studies of several variants show that increasing the negative charge on the homodimer surface increases stability in cells. These data, taken together with the fact that oocytes are less crowded thanE. colicells, lead to the conclusion that chemical interactions are more important than hard-core repulsions under physiological conditions, a conclusion also gleaned from studies of protein stability in cells. Our studies have implications for understanding how promiscuous—and specific—interactions coherently evolve for a protein to properly function in the crowded cellular environment.

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  4. A unique chain-rupturing transformation that converts an ether functionality into two hydrocarbyl units and carbon monoxide is reported, mediated by iridium( i ) complexes supported by aminophenylphosphinite (NCOP) pincer ligands. The decarbonylation, which involves the cleavage of one C–C bond, one C–O bond, and two C–H bonds, along with formation of two new C–H bonds, was serendipitously discovered upon dehydrochlorination of an iridium( iii ) complex containing an aza-18-crown-6 ether macrocycle. Intramolecular cleavage of macrocyclic and acyclic ethers was also found in analogous complexes featuring aza-15-crown-5 ether or bis(2-methoxyethyl)amino groups. Intermolecular decarbonylation of cyclic and linear ethers was observed when diethylaminophenylphosphinite iridium( i ) dinitrogen or norbornene complexes were employed. Mechanistic studies reveal the nature of key intermediates along a pathway involving initial iridium( i )-mediated double C–H bond activation. 
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