Selenomethionine labeling of large biological macromolecular complexes: probing the structure of marine bacterial virus PM2.
Kivelä HM., Abrescia NGA., Bamford JKH., Grimes JM., Stuart DI., Bamford DH.
There is a need for improved tools for labeling protein species within large macromolecular assemblies. Here we describe a method for the efficient selenomethionine labeling of the membrane-containing bacterial virus PM2 for structural studies. By examining potential host cells a strain was found which was auxotrophic for methionine, and by performing a multiparameter search of conditions it was possible to derive a robust protocol which simultaneously minimized the toxic effects of the selenomethionine, so that a reasonable virus yield was maintained, whilst still achieving essentially complete labeling. This has allowed us to fingerprint the protein constituents of the virus in a relatively low resolution electron density map. Such a technique can be adapted to other macromolecule complexes studied by X-ray crystallography.