Discovering Protein-Protein Interactions Using Nucleic Acid Programmable Protein Arrays

Curr Protoc Cell Biol. 2017 Mar 3;74:15.21.1-15.21.14. doi: 10.1002/cpcb.14.


We have developed a protocol enabling the study of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) at the proteome level using in vitro-synthesized proteins. Assay preparation requires molecular cloning of the query gene into a vector that supports in vitro transcription/translation (IVTT) and appends a HaloTag to the query protein of interest. In parallel, protein microarrays are prepared by printing plasmids encoding glutathione S-transferase (GST)-tagged target proteins onto a carrier matrix/glass slide coated with antibody directed against GST. At the time of the experiment, the query protein and the target protein are produced separately through IVTT. The query protein is then applied to nucleic acid programmable protein arrays (NAPPA) that display thousands of freshly produced target proteins captured by anti-GST antibody. Interactions between the query and immobilized target proteins are detected through addition of a fluorophore-labeled HaloTag ligand. Our protocol allows the elucidation of PPIs in a high-throughput fashion using proteins produced in vitro, obviating the scientific challenges, high cost, and laborious work, as well as concerns about protein stability, which are usually present in protocols using conventional protein arrays. © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: HaloTag; NAPPA; cell-free gene expression; protein arrays; protein-protein interactions.

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acids / chemistry*
  • Protein Array Analysis / methods*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*


  • Nucleic Acids