Protein expression and purification of G-protein coupled receptor kinase 6 (GRK6), toward structure-based drug design and discovery for multiple myeloma

Tien L. Olson, Shangji Zhang, Dillon Labban, Emily Kaschner, Manuel Aceves, Srivatsan Iyer, Jose Domingo Meza-Aguilar, James D. Zook, Eugene Chun, Felicia M. Craciunescu, Wei Liu, Chang Xin Shi, A. Keith Stewart, Debra T. Hansen, Nathalie Meurice, Petra Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human G-protein coupled receptor kinase 6 (GRK6) belongs to the GRK4 kinase subfamily of the G protein-coupled receptor kinase family which comprises of GRK1, GRK2, and GRK4. These kinases phosphorylate ligand-activated G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), driving heterotrimeric G protein coupling, desensitization of GPCR, and β-arrestin recruitment. This reaction series mediates cellular signal pathways for cell survival, proliferation, migration and chemotaxis. GRK6 is a kinase target in multiple myeloma since it is highly expressed in myeloma cells compared to epithelial cells and has a significant role in mediating the chemotactic responses of T and B-lymphocytes. To support structure-based drug design, we describe three human GRK6 constructs, GRK6, GRK6His/EK, and GRK6His/TEV, designed for protein expression in Spodoptera frugiperda Sf9 insect cells. The first construct did not contain any purification tag whereas the other two constructs contained the His10 affinity tag, which increased purification yields. We report here that all three constructs of GRK6 were overexpressed in Sf9 insect cells and purified to homogeneity at levels that were suitable for co-crystallization of GRK6 with potential inhibitors. The yields of purified GRK6, GRK6His/EK, and GRK6His/TEV were 0.3 mg, 0.8 mg and 0.7 mg per liter of cell culture, respectively. In addition, we have shown that GRK6His/TEV with the His10 tag removed was highly homogeneous and monodisperse as observed by dynamic light scattering measurement and actively folded as exhibited by circular dichroism spectroscopy. The described methods will support the structure-based development of additional therapeutics against multiple myeloma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105890
JournalProtein Expression and Purification
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Crystallography
  • G-protein coupled receptor kinase 6
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Palmitoylation
  • Structure-guided drug design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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