Acute and rapid degradation of endogenous proteins by Trim-Away

Nat Protoc. 2018 Oct;13(10):2149-2175. doi: 10.1038/s41596-018-0028-3.


Protein depletion is a key approach to understanding the functions of a protein in a biological system. We recently developed the Trim-Away approach in order to rapidly degrade endogenous proteins without prior modification. Trim-Away is based on the ubiquitin ligase and Fc receptor TRIM21, which recognizes antibody-bound proteins and targets them for degradation by the proteasome. In a typical Trim-Away experiment, protein degradation is achieved in three steps: first, introduction of an antibody against the target protein; second, recruitment of endogenous or exogenous/overexpressed TRIM21 to the antibody-bound target protein; and third, proteasome-mediated degradation of the target protein, antibody and TRIM21 complex. Protein degradation by Trim-Away is acute and rapid, with half-lives of ~10-20 min. The major advantages of Trim-Away over other protein degradation methods are that it can be applied to any endogenous protein without prior modification; that it uses conventional antibodies that are widely available; and that it can be applied to a wide range of cell types, including nondividing primary human cells, for which other loss-of-function assays are challenging. In this protocol, we describe the detailed procedures for antibody preparation and delivery in mouse oocytes and cultured cells via microinjection and electroporation. In addition, we provide recommendations for antibody selection and validation, and for the generation of TRIM21-overexpressing cell lines for cases in which endogenous TRIM21 is limited. A typical Trim-Away experiment takes just a few hours.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electroporation / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microinjections / methods
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis*
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • SS-A antigen
  • Ubiquitin
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex