Expression and Purification of Membrane Proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

  • Martin S. King
  • Edmund R. S. KunjiEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2127)


Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the most popular expression systems for eukaryotic membrane proteins. Here, we describe protocols for the expression and purification of mitochondrial membrane proteins developed in our laboratory during the last 15 years. To optimize their expression in a functional form, different promoter systems as well as codon-optimization and complementation strategies were established. Purification approaches were developed which remove the membrane protein from the affinity column by specific proteolytic cleavage rather than by elution. This strategy has several important advantages, most notably improving the purity of the sample, as contaminants stay bound to the column, thus eliminating the need for a secondary purification step, such as size exclusion chromatography. This strategy also avoids dilution of the sample, which would occur as a consequence of elution, precluding the need for concentration steps, and thus preventing detergent concentration.

Key words

Membrane proteins Mitochondria Protein expression Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yeast Nickel affinity chromatography Purification by on-column proteolytic cleavage 



This research was supported by the Medical Research Council (grant MC_UU_00015/1). We thank Drs. Homa Majd and Chancievan Thangaratnarajah for help with preparing figures 1 and 2, respectively.  


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Research Council Mitochondrial Biology UnitUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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