Thursday, May 4, 2017

HILAQ -- A new tool for quantifying new protein production!

Despite what the petri plate above suggests, HILAQ is no laughing matter!

No, HILAQ is serious business. It is a simpler way to quantify what proteins are being produced in your cells.  You can read about it in this brand new paper!

Non-natural amino acid labeling/incorporation is all the rage right now, and this is what HILAQ is based on. During translation these weird amino acids are integrated into the proteins. HILAQ uses a heavy and light version of a weird amino acid called AHA (the Heavy version is, therefore HAHA!) into the cells.

One of the reasons AHA is so cool is that peptides incorporating it can be easily and efficiently pulled out with click chemistry. You start out with condition A and condition B and pulse in the AHA/HAHA, respectively. The proteins that are being translated the most incorporate the most AHA or HAHA and then you pull out the peptides, leaving behind all the uninteresting ones!

If you're thinking "I've seen this before..." you're right! This is similar to QuaNCAT, but with some important differences. In QuaNCAT, the cells are SILAC labeled and you throw in just AHA. By labeling the AHA, rather than the cells, HILAQ simplifies the matrix and data analysis portions of this procedure.

Hard to guess what the HAHA costs, but SILAC labeling takes many cell passages to fully incorporate and the heavy labels used to be somewhat expensive. At the very least, HILAQ should take a lot less time to set up the experimental method, but I'd suspect it would be a good bit less expensive!

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