Camelid nanobodies raised agaist an integral membrane enzyme, nitric oxide reductase.

Katja Conrath, Alice S. Pereira, Carlos V. Martins, Cristina G. Timoteo, Pedro Tavares, Silvia Spinelli, Jörg Kinne, Christophe Flaudrops, C. Cambillau, Serge Muyldermans, Isabel Moura, Jose J.g. Moura, Mariella Tegoni, Aline De Smyter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Nitric Oxide Reductase (NOR) is an integral membrane protein perfoming the reduction of NO to N2O.NOR is composed of two subunits: the large one (NorB) is a bundle of 12 transmembrane helices (TMH). It contains a b type heme and a binuclear iron site, which is believed to be the catalytic site, comprising a heme b and a non-hemic iron. The small subunit (NorC) harbors a cytochrome c and is attached to the membrane through a unique TMH. With the aim to perform stuctural and functional studies of NOR, we have immunized dromedaries with NOR and produced several antibody fragments of the heavy chain (VHHs, also known as nanobodiesTM). These fragments have been used to develop a faster NOR purification procedure, to proceed to crystallization assays and to analyze the electron transfer of electron donors. BIAcore experiments have revealed that up to three VHHs can bind concomitantly to NOR with affinities in the nanomolar range. This is the first example of the use of VHHs with an integral membrane protein. Our results indicate that VHHs are able to recognize with high affinity distinct epitopes on this class of proteins, and can be used as versatile and valuable tool for purification, functional study and crystallization of integral membrane proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-628
Number of pages10
JournalProtein Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2009


  • nitric oxidase reductase
  • camelid antibodies
  • VHH domain
  • SPR
  • Phage display


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