Proteomic analysis requires protein tags that enable high-throughput handling; however, versatile tags that can be used in in vitro expression systems are currently lacking. In this study, we developed an insoluble protein tag, INSOL-tag, derived from human transcription factor MafG. The INSOL-tagged target protein is expressed in a eukaryotic in vitro expression system and recovered as a pellet following centrifugation at 19,000 × g for 20 min. Comparisons of the target protein recovery rates of GST-tag and INSOL-tag using 111 cytoplasmic proteins revealed a fourfold increase in the yield of INSOL-tagged proteins. Using 267 cancer antigens purified with INSOL-tag, we subsequently developed an INSOL-CTA array method, for profiling autoantibodies in sera of cancer patients. The detection limit of the array was approximately 11.1 pg IgG, and the correlation with ELISA was high (R2 = .993, .955). Moreover, when autoantibody profiling of digestive cancer patient sera was performed, antigen spreading was observed. These data suggest that INSOL-tag is a versatile tag that can insolubilize a wide range of target proteins. It is therefore expected to become a powerful tool in comprehensive protein preparation for protein arrays, antibody production, and mass spectrometry.
Keywords: cancer antigens; protein array; protein tag; transcription factor MafG.
© 2019 Molecular Biology Society of Japan and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.