Development of an optimized backbone of FRET biosensors for kinases and GTPases.
ABSTRACT Biosensors based on the principle of Förster (or fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET) have shed new light on the spatiotemporal dynamics of signaling molecules. Among them, intramolecular FRET biosensors have been increasingly used due to their high sensitivity and user-friendliness. Time-consuming optimizations by trial and error, however, obstructed the development of intramolecular FRET biosensors. Here we report an optimized backbone for rapid development of highly sensitive intramolecular FRET biosensors. The key concept is to exclude the "orientation-dependent" FRET and to render the biosensors completely "distance-dependent" with a long, flexible linker. We optimized a pair of fluorescent proteins for distance-dependent biosensors, and then developed a long, flexible linker ranging from 116 to 244 amino acids in length, which reduced the basal FRET signal and thereby increased the gain of the FRET biosensors. Computational simulations provided insight into the mechanisms by which this optimized system was the rational strategy for intramolecular FRET biosensors. With this backbone system, we improved previously reported FRET biosensors of PKA, ERK, JNK, EGFR/Abl, Ras, and Rac1. Furthermore, this backbone enabled us to develop novel FRET biosensors for several kinases of RSK, S6K, Akt, and PKC and to perform quantitative evaluation of kinase inhibitors in living cells.
Article: An experimental study of GFP-based FRET, with application to intrinsically unstructured proteins.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: We have experimentally studied the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between green fluorescent protein (GFP) molecules by inserting folded or intrinsically unstructured proteins between CyPet and Ypet. We discovered that most of the enhanced FRET signal previously reported for this pair was due to enhanced dimerization, so we engineered a monomerizing mutation into each. An insert containing a single fibronectin type III domain (3.7 nm end-to-end) gave a moderate FRET signal while a two-domain insert (7.0 nm) gave no FRET. We then tested unstructured proteins of various lengths, including the charged-plus-PQ domain of ZipA, the tail domain of alpha-adducin, and the C-terminal tail domain of FtsZ. The structures of these FRET constructs were also studied by electron microscopy and sedimentation. A 12 amino acid linker and the N-terminal 33 amino acids of the charged domain of the ZipA gave strong FRET signals. The C-terminal 33 amino acids of the PQ domain of the ZipA and several unstructured proteins with 66-68 amino acids gave moderate FRET signals. The 150 amino acid charged-plus-PQ construct gave a barely detectable FRET signal. FRET efficiency was calculated from the decreased donor emission to estimate the distance between donor and acceptor. The donor-acceptor distance varied for unstructured inserts of the same length, suggesting that they had variable stiffness (persistence length). We conclude that GFP-based FRET can be useful for studying intrinsically unstructured proteins, and we present a range of calibrated protein inserts to experimentally determine the distances that can be studied.Protein Science 08/2007; 16(7):1429-38. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We introduce two methods for the visualization of phosphorylated proteins using alkoxide-bridged dinuclear metal (i.e. Zn(2+) or Mn(2+)) complexes as novel phosphate-binding tag (Phos-tag) molecules. Both Zn(2+)- and Mn(2+)-Phos-tag molecules preferentially capture phosphomonoester dianions bound to Ser, Thr, and Tyr residues. One method is based on an ECL system using biotin-pendant Zn(2+)-Phos-tag and horseradish peroxidase-conjugated streptavidin. We demonstrate the electroblotting analyses of protein phosphorylation status by the phosphate-selective ECL signals. Another method is based on the mobility shift of phosphorylated proteins in SDS-PAGE with polyacrylamide-bound Mn(2+)-Phos-tag. Phosphorylated proteins in the gel are visualized as slower migration bands compared with corresponding dephosphorylated proteins. We demonstrate the kinase and phosphatase assays by phosphate affinity electrophoresis (Mn(2+)-Phos-tag SDS-PAGE).Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 05/2006; 5(4):749-57. · 7.40 Impact Factor
Article: Tumor-promoting phorbol esters and activated Ras inactivate the tuberous sclerosis tumor suppressor complex via p90 ribosomal S6 kinase.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in either of the two tumor suppressor genes TSC1 or TSC2, which encode hamartin and tuberin, respectively. Tuberin and hamartin form a complex that inhibits signaling by the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a critical nutrient sensor and regulator of cell growth and proliferation. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inactivates the tumor suppressor complex and enhances mTOR signaling by means of phosphorylation of tuberin by Akt. Importantly, cellular transformation mediated by phorbol esters and Ras isoforms that poorly activate PI3K promote tumorigenesis in the absence of Akt activation. In this study, we show that phorbol esters and activated Ras also induce the phosphorylation of tuberin and collaborates with the nutrient-sensing pathway to regulate mTOR effectors, such as p70 ribosomal S6 kinase 1 (S6K1). The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-activated kinase, p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) 1, was found to interact with and phosphorylate tuberin at a regulatory site, Ser-1798, located at the evolutionarily conserved C terminus of tuberin. RSK1 phosphorylation of Ser-1798 inhibits the tumor suppressor function of the tuberin/hamartin complex, resulting in increased mTOR signaling to S6K1. Together, our data unveil a regulatory mechanism by which the Ras/MAPK and PI3K pathways converge on the tumor suppressor tuberin to inhibit its function.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2004; 101(37):13489-94. · 9.68 Impact Factor