High level expression of theDrosophilaToll receptor ectodomain and crystallization of its complex with the morphogen Spätzle

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Drosophila Toll receptors are involved in embryonic development and in the immune response of adult flies. In both processes, the Toll receptor ligand is the NGF-like cystine knot protein Spätzle. Here we present the expression of Toll receptor ectodomain in Schneider cells at high yields and demonstrate a high affinity interaction with the refolded and trypsin-processed Spätzle cystine knot domain dimer. Poorly and anisotropically diffracting crystals of the complex could be improved by deglycosylation and dehydration, paving the way for structural analyses of the Toll-Spätzle interaction.

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