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, 352(6288), 986-90.
We request funding for the acquisition of a microscale thermophoresis instrument to quantify protein interactions. A rapidly growing number of groups in the Faculty of Biology and Medicine in Lausanne are now addressing questions at the molecular level, generating a need for quantitatively assessing the interactions of proteins among each other, or with metabolites, inhibitors, nucleic acids or lipids. Due to this increasing interest in interaction studies, we need to develop our technical capabilities in this area. Extensive tests of the Nanotemper Monolith system in Lausanne convinced us that microscale thermophoresis, which has only recently become available as a commercial instrument, would serve a wide range of users in our faculty well for this purpose. Traditional techniques for studying bio-molecular interactions in vitro, such as isothermal titration calorimetry and surface plasmon resonance require large amounts of high purity protein. Microscale thermophoresis allows to study bimolecular interactions in solution and requires only nanomolar amounts of protein and less than 10 µl per experiment. The measurements take only 2-3 minutes per sample and can even be performed in complex protein mixtures. Since microscale thermophoresis monitors a fluorescently labeled molecule, it offers the possibility of studying fluorescent fusion proteins in cell lysates without the need for purification. This facilitates measurements of proteins that can only be expressed in small amounts in cell cultures. Among such proteins are often the more interesting targets for medicine since many human proteins can only be successfully folded in mammalian expression systems. Microscale thermophoresis thus increases the number of potential targets which can be studied and increases the rate at which proteins can be prepared for testing.To our knowledge, a microscale thermophoresis unit does not yet exist in Switzerland. The instrument will be placed in the Protein Analysis Facility of UNIL, a service platform run by specialized personnel who assists users in their analyses. In the facility, it will be accessible to all users, from UNIL or other universities. Initially, the instrument will be most used by the groups of Martinon, Schneider, Mayer and Fasshauer, for which we describe projects immediately benefiting from the instrument. Numerous other group leaders in the Lausanne area have expressed keen interest in having this technology available. Among those are also groups from the university hospital and the EPFL.