Prof. Kimoon Kim’s Group Develops a New Method for Extracting Membrane Proteins

2010-12-28 1,386

Prof. Kimoon Kim’s (Dept. of Chemistry) Research Group
Develops a New Method for Extracting Membrane Proteins Which Can Be Used for Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer and Analysis of Stem Cells

A research group including Prof. Kimoon Kim (Dept. of Chemistry), Don-wook Lee (Ph.D. candidate), Prof. Sung Ho Ryu (Division of Molecular and Life Science), and NOVACELL Technology Inc. has succeeded in separating cell membrane proteins from a cell using a ‘cucurbituril’, a pumpkin-shaped coreless compound.
The result was published in the latest online edition of Nature Chemistry.
The study finds that using a cucurbituril has many advantages over the commonly used avidin-biotin pair system in extracting plasma membrane proteins for disease analysis.
Plasma membrane proteins, which are located on the surface of a cell, function as a passage for the cell to recognize its external environment. Since plasma membrane proteins have different compositions in different cells, they are being studied intensively in the field of biotechnology to develop target-specific drugs which can minimize side effects. In order to analyze plasma membrane proteins, isolation of the plasma membrane proteins is essential. However, the avidin-biotin pair system, which has been commonly used for the process, has shortcomings such as chemical instability and potential contamination.
The new method developed by the research group at POSTECH uses a cucurbituril-ferrocene pair system to selectively isolate plasma membrane proteins from their cells. It is shown to be more efficient in capturing membrane proteins with a much lower possibility of potential contamination. This result implies that the cucurbituril system has a wider range of applications in biotechnology such as for the development of drug delivery systems which deliver drugs only to targeted areas or for the development of biochips which can diagnose various diseases. The study is considered significant especially because the method developed in the study may be used for the treatment of a disease as well as for its diagnosis.