3 days popular7 days popular1 month popular3 months popular

Color-changing probes shed light on protein discrimination

A novel fluorescent probe library is developed by a research team including scientists from the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo. The findings are published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

The ability to visualize, detect and track specific proteins is highly desirable for scientists working in a variety of disciplines, such as disease diagnostics and cell biology. To this end, ‘fluorogenic probes’ are often used – molecular dyes which bind to target molecules and fluoresce in response to the surrounding microenvironment. Some probes hold the ability to change color and ‘turn on’ (known as CCTO), emitting a much brighter light upon recognition of the target molecule.

There are some issues with the use of fluorogenic probes. For example, adding a fluorescent molecule (or fluorophore) into a peptide or ligand capable of binding to the target can sometimes inhibit correct binding, causing a weak link. Moreover, current fluorogenic probes are built only for certain specific protein-ligand pairs, and the search is on for a way to find probes suitable for a wider range of targets.

Now, Masumi Taki and co-workers at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, together with co-workers in Japan and the USA, have synthesized a diverse fluorogenic probe library using a form of the fluorescent dye Prodan and phage display technology based on bacteriophage T7.

Probe library
Probe library yielded GST-specific CCTO probes, which change color from yellow to cyan when they bind
Image: University of Electro-Communications (UEC)