Functional imaging of proteases: recent advances in the design and application of substrate-based and activity-based probes.

Cancer Biology Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr., Stanford, CA 94305-5324, USA.
Current opinion in chemical biology (Impact Factor: 8.3). 11/2011; 15(6):798-805.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Proteases are enzymes that cleave peptide bonds in protein substrates. This process can be important for regulated turnover of a target protein but it can also produce protein fragments that then perform other functions. Because the last few decades of protease research have confirmed that proteolysis is an essential regulatory process in both normal physiology and in multiple disease-associated conditions, there has been an increasing interest in developing methods to image protease activity. Proteases are also considered to be one of the few 'druggable' classes of proteins and therefore a large number of small molecule based inhibitors of proteases have been reported. These compounds serve as a starting point for the design of probes that can be used to target active proteases for imaging applications. Currently, several classes of fluorescent probes have been developed to visualize protease activity in live cells and even whole organisms. The two primary classes of protease probes make use of either peptide/protein substrates or covalent inhibitors that produce a fluorescent signal when bound to an active protease target. This review outlines some of the most recent advances in the design of imaging probes for proteases. In particular, it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of both substrate-based and activity-based probes and their applications for imaging cysteine proteases that are important biomarkers for multiple human diseases.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Proteases play essential roles in protein degradation, protein processing, and extracellular matrix remodeling in all cell types and tissues. They are also involved in protein turnover for maintenance of homeostasis and protein activation or inactivation for cell signaling. Proteases range in function and specificity, with some performing distinct substrate cleavages, while others accomplish proteolysis of a wide range of substrates. As such, different cell types use specialized molecular mechanisms to regulate the localization of proteases and their function within the compartments to which they are destined. Here, we focus on the cysteine family of cathepsin proteases and legumain, which act predominately within the endo-lysosomal pathway. In particular, recent knowledge on cysteine cathepsins and their primary regulator legumain is scrutinized in terms of their trafficking to endo-lysosomal compartments and other less recognized cellular locations. We further explore the mechanisms that regulate these processes and point to pathological cases which arise from detours taken by these proteases. Moreover, the emerging biological roles of specific forms and variants of cysteine cathepsins and legumain are discussed. These may be decisive, pathogenic, or even deadly when localizing to unusual cellular compartments in their enzymatically active form, because they may exert unexpected effects by alternative substrate cleavage. Hence, we propose future perspectives for addressing the actions of cysteine cathepsins and legumain as well as their specific forms and variants. The increasing knowledge in non-canonical aspects of cysteine cathepsin- and legumain-mediated proteolysis may prove valuable for developing new strategies to utilize these versatile proteases in therapeutic approaches.
    Protoplasma 11/2014; · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Two new benzothiadiazole-triazole-linked lapachone derivatives were designed, synthesized and characterized by 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy. Their photophysical properties were also investigated. Theoretical calculations (DFT), based on the molecular design of the new compounds, allowed a better understanding of the derivatives' stability and behaviour, especially in the excited state. This manuscript also describes a discussion on the molecular architecture which is based on two substitutions at positions 4- and 7- of the important 2,1,3-benzothiadiazole (BTD) core. One side is replaced by a group capable of performing an ESIPT (excited-state intramolecular proton transfer) stabilizing process, and the other side is substituted by a triazole-containing group. This triazole ring acts as the linker between the BTD core and a group of known antitumoral activity i.e. a nor-β-lapachone derivative. These novel fluorescent compounds had their biological activities evaluated against twenty cancer cell lines and three normal cells with promising results. Finally, due to their interesting photophysical properties and good fluorescence, bioimaging experiments were conducted, and these dyes were tested as fluorescent cell-imaging probes, thus showing their preferable cellular location in MDA-MB-231 cancer cells (a breast-invasive cancer-cell lineage).
    New Journal of Chemistry 05/2014; 38(6). · 3.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: MLN8237 is a highly potent and presumably selective inhibitor of Aurora kinase A (AKA) and has shown promising antitumor activities. Like other kinase inhibitors which target the ATP-binding site of kinases, MLN8237 might be expected to have potential cellular off-targets. Herein, we report the first photoaffinity-based, small molecule AKA probe capable of both live-cell imaging of AKA activities and in situ proteome profiling of potential off-targets of MLN8237 (including AKA-associating proteins). By using two mutually compatible, bioorthogonal reactions (copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition chemistry and TCO-tetrazine ligation), we demostrate small molecule-based multiplex bioimaging for simultaneous in situ monitoring of two important cell-cycle regulating kinases (AKA and CDK1). A broad range of proteins, as potential off-targets of MLN8237 and AKA's-interacting partners, is subsequently identified by affinity-based proteome profiling coupled with large-scale LC-MS/MS analysis. From these studies, we discover novel AKA interactions which were further validated by cell-based immunoprecipitation (IP) experiments.
    Scientific Reports 01/2015; 5:7724. · 5.08 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 27, 2014