We present a strategy to obtain milligrams of highly post-translationally modified eukaryotic proteins, transiently expressed in mammalian cells as rigid or cleavable fusions with a mammalianized version of bacterial maltose-binding protein (mMBP). This variant was engineered to combine mutations that enhance MBP solubility and affinity purification, as well as provide crystal-packing interactions for increased crystallizability. Using this cell type-independent approach, we could increase the expression of secreted and intracellular human proteins up to 200-fold. By molecular replacement with MBP, we readily determined five novel high-resolution structures of rigid fusions of targets that otherwise defied crystallization.
Keywords: Crystallization; Glycoproteins; Maltose-binding protein fusion; Mammalian cell expression; Molecular replacement; X-ray crystallography.
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