TREM-2 (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-2) is an innate immune receptor expressed on dendritic cells, macrophages, osteoclasts, and microglia. Recent genetic studies have reported the occurrence of point mutations in TREM-2 that correlate with a dramatically increased risk for the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Parkinson's disease. Structural and biophysical studies of wild-type and mutant TREM-2 ectodomains are required to understand the functional consequences of these mutations. In order to facilitate these studies, we undertook the production and crystallization of these proteins. Here we demonstrate that, unlike many single Ig domain proteins, TREM-2 could not be readily refolded from bacterially-expressed inclusion bodies. Instead, we developed a mammalian-cell based expression system for the successful production of wild-type and mutant TREM-2 proteins in milligram quantities and a single-chromatography-step purification scheme that produced diffraction-quality crystals. These crystals diffract to a resolution of 3.3 Å and produce data sufficient for structure determination. We describe herein the procedures to produce wild-type and mutant human TREM-2 Ig domains in sufficient quantities for structural and biophysical studies. Such studies are crucial to understand the functional consequences of TREM-2 point mutations linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases and, ultimately, to develop patient-specific molecular therapies to treat them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalProtein Expression and Purification
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Crystallography
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Neurodegenerative disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Receptor


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