Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Nederlands Kanker Instituut, NKI) are benefitting from the advanced, multi-parameter characterization offered by Avacta Analytical’s Optim® technology for the study of novel proteins.
Dr Anastassis Perrakis, Principle Investigator in the Institute’s Structural Biology Group, explained: “We are interested in the mechanisms controlling a variety of different cellular processes, using in vitro protein characterization to look at how proteins interact with other proteins and DNA. In addition to traditional biochemical assays, we perform a large number of biophysical experiments to help us understand these molecular interactions, and first became interested in the Optim instrument when we were having trouble measuring the melting curve for a particular protein of interest.”
The Optim instrument allows the Group to probe multiple protein stability-indicating parameters at high speed, using ultra-low sample volumes of proteins and other molecules.
“We have had the instrument since May, and it has been very useful,” Anastassis continued. “It looks directly at the unfolding process through the physical properties of the protein - you do not need to use a reporter system - so the results are more precisely defined. The melting point data offers us a good indication of the quality of the proteins we express, as well as ensuring that they are stable and ‘happy’ under the conditions we plan to use in our biochemical assays, without excessive denaturation or aggregation. The biggest advantage for us is that the Optim instrument uses between 10 and 50 times less sample than competitive techniques, which is obviously a real benefit for downstream studies.”