A new biotinylation enzyme for analyzing protein-protein interactions

AirID enables comprehensive analysis of interaction partners of your target proteins in cells

Proteins play roles by interacting with various other proteins. Therefore, interaction analysis is an indispensable technique for studying the function of proteins. In this research, we have developed a biotinylation enzyme, AirID, using an ancestral enzyme reconstruction algorithm. AirID is a highly active biotinylation enzyme with low toxicity. By using AirID, comprehensive biotinylation of proteins interacting with a target protein in cells was achieved when the target protein was expressed as a fusion protein with AirID.

Proteins control many physiological functions that are essential for living things in vivo. There are over 20,000 types of proteins in humans, and each protein plays a different role by interacting with other proteins. Proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) technology is a technique for finding these interacting partner proteins. BioID can be used by expressing the BioID-fusion protein and adding biotin. In cells expressing BioID-fusion bait protein, proteins with which the bait protein interacts are biotinylated and can be comprehensively analyzed using precipitation with streptavidin followed by mass spectrometry.

Three types of BioID enzymes (BioID, BioID2, TurboID) have been developed so far. However, BioID and BioID2 require a long reaction time and TurboID also biotinylates non-interacting proteins. Further improvement of biotinylation enzymes is an important goal for enhancing the convenience of proximity biotinylation in cells.

In this research, we designed ancestral biotinylation enzymes using an ancestral enzyme reconstruction algorithm and metagenome data. The new enzyme, AirID (ancestral BirA for proximity-dependent biotin identification) showed higher activity, higher specificity, and less toxicity than the previous three types. AirID was applied in the evaluation of protein interaction inhibitors, analyzing complexes formed by three or more types of proteins, and analyzing interactions through compounds called Molecular Glue. In addition, we have succeeded in the comprehensive identification of proteins that interact with a target protein by identifying biotinylated proteins using mass spectrometry analysis in cultured cells which express the target protein fused with AirID. These results indicate that AirID is a suitable enzyme for analyzing comprehensive protein–protein interactions in cells.

Reference URL: https://elifesciences.org/articles/54983

Bibliographic Information

AirID, a Novel Proximity Biotinylation Enzyme, for Analysis of Protein-Protein Interactions, Kohki Kido , Satoshi Yamanaka , Shogo Nakano , Kou Motani , Souta Shinohara , Akira Nozawa , Hidetaka Kosako , Sohei Ito and Tatsuya Sawasaki, Elife, (2020) 9, e54983, doi: 10.7554/eLife.54983.


  • JP19am0101077/Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
  • JP16H06579/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • JP16H04729/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • JP19H03218/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • 18KK0229/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science


  • Fig. 1. Biotinylation of proteins interacting with a protein fused with AirID.

    Fig. 1. Biotinylation of proteins interacting with a protein fused with AirID.

    An ancestoral type enzyme AirID was designed from the sequence of biotinylation enzyme BirA of Escherichia coli by an ancestral enzyme reconstruction algorithm with metagenome data. Since AirID has high biotinylation activity and low cytotoxicity, it is possible to biotinylate a protein that interacts with the target protein by expressing it in cells as a fusion protein with the target protein. By identifying these biotinylated proteins using mass spectrometry analysis, it becomes possible to comprehensively identify proteins that interact with the target protein in cells.

    credit : Tatsuya Sawasaki [Ehime University]
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Contact Person

Name : Tatsuya Sawasaki
Phone : +81-89-927-8530
E-mail : sawasaki@ehime-u.ac.jp
Affiliation : Proteo-Science Center (PROS)