Firefly luciferase enzyme fragment complementation for imaging in cells and living animals
ABSTRACT We identified different fragments of the firefly luciferase gene based on the crystal structure of firefly luciferase. These split reporter genes which encode for protein fragments, unlike the fragments currently used for studying protein-protein interactions, can self-complement and provide luciferase enzyme activity in different cell lines in culture and in living mice. The comparison of the fragment complementation associated recovery of firefly luciferase enzyme activity with intact firefly luciferase was estimated for different fragment combinations and ranged from 0.01 to 4% of the full firefly luciferase activity. Using a cooled optical charge-coupled device camera, the analysis of firefly luciferase fragment complementation in transiently transfected subcutaneous 293T cell implants in living mice showed significant detectable enzyme activity upon injecting d-luciferin, especially from the combinations of fragments identified (Nfluc and Cfluc are the N and C fragments of the firefly luciferase gene, respectively): Nfluc (1-475)/Cfluc (245-550), Nfluc (1-475)/Cfluc (265-550), and Nfluc (1-475)/Cfluc (300-550). The Cfluc (265-550) fragment, upon expression with the nuclear localization signal (NLS) peptide of SV40, shows reduced enzyme activity when the cells are cotransfected with the Nfluc (1-475) fragment expressed without NLS. We also proved in this study that the complementing fragments could be efficiently used for screening macromolecule delivery vehicles by delivering TAT-Cfluc (265-550) to cells stably expressing Nfluc (1-475) and recovering signal. These complementing fragments should be useful for many reporter-based assays including intracellular localization of proteins, studying cellular macromolecule delivery vehicles, studying cell-cell fusions, and also developing intracellular phosphorylation sensors based on fragment complementation.
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ABSTRACT: Monitoring protein-protein interactions (PPIs) in live subjects is critical for understanding these fundamental biological processes. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) provides a good technique for imaging PPIs; however, a BiFC system with a long wavelength remains to be pursued for in vivo imaging. Here, we conducted systematic screening of split reporters from a bacterial phytochrome-based, near-infrared fluorescent protein (iRFP). Several new near-infrared phytochrome BiFC systems were built based on selected split sites including the amino acids residues 97/98, 99/100, 122/123, and 123/124. These new near-infrared BiFC systems from a bacterial phytochrome were verified as powerful tools for imaging PPIs under physiological conditions in live cells and in live mice. The interaction between HIV-1 integrase (IN) and cellular cofactor protein Lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF/p75) was visualized in live cells using the newly constructed iRFP BiFC system because of its important roles in HIV-1 integration and replication. Because the HIV IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction is an attractive anti-HIV target, drug evaluation assays to inhibit the HIV IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction were also performed using the newly constructed BiFC system. The results showed that compound 6 and carbidopa inhibit the HIV IN-LEDGF/p75 interaction in a dose-dependent manner under physiological conditions in the BiFC assays. This study provides novel near-infrared BiFC systems for imaging protein interactions under physiological conditions and provides guidance for splitting other bacterial phytochrome-like proteins to construct BiFC systems. The study also provides a new method for drug evaluation in live cells based on iRFP BiFC systems and supplies some new information regarding candidate drugs for anti-HIV therapies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Biomaterials 04/2015; 48. DOI:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.01.038 · 8.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The luciferase fragment complementation assay (LFCA) enables molecular events to be non-invasively imaged in live cells in vitro and in vivo in a comparatively cheap and safe manner. It is a development of previous enzyme complementation assays in which reporter genes are split into two, individually enzymatically inactive, fragments that are able to complement one another upon interaction. This complementation can be used to externally visualize cellular activities. In recent years, the number of studies which have used LFCAs to probe questions relevant to cancer have increased, and this review summarizes the most significant and interesting of these. In particular, it focuses on work conducted on the epidermal growth factor, nuclear and chemokine receptor families, and intracellular signaling pathways, including IP3, cAMP, Akt, cMyc, NRF2 and Rho GTPases. LFCAs which have been developed to image DNA methylation and detect RNA transcripts are also discussed.
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ABSTRACT: Growth hormone (GH) signaling yields multiple anabolic and metabolic effects. GH binds the transmembrane GH receptor (GHR) to activate the intracellular GHR-associated tyrosine kinase, JAK2, and downstream signals, including STAT5 activation and IGF-1 gene expression. Some GH effects are partly mediated by GH-induced IGF-1 via IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R), a tyrosine kinase receptor. We previously demonstrated in non-human cells that GH causes formation of a GHR-JAK2-IGF-1R complex and that presence of IGF-1R (even without IGF-1 binding) augments proximal GH signaling. In this study, we use human LNCaP prostate cancer cells as a model system to further study the IGF-1R's role in GH signaling. GH promoted JAK2 and GHR tyrosine phosphorylation and STAT5 activation in LNCaP cells. By coimmunoprecipitation and a new split luciferase complementation assay, we find that GH augments GHR/IGF-1R complex formation, which is inhibited by a Fab of an antagonistic anti-GHR monoclonal antibody. shRNA-mediated IGF-1R silencing in LNCaP cells reduced GH-induced GHR, JAK2, and STAT5 phosphorylation. Similarly, a soluble IGF-1R extracellular domain fragment, sol IGF-1R, interacts with GHR in response to GH and blunts GH signaling. Sol IGF-1R also markedly inhibits GH-induced IGF-1 gene expression in both LNCaP cells and mouse primary osteoblast cells. On the basis of these and other findings, we propose a model in which IGF-1R augments GH signaling by allowing a putative IGF-1R-associated molecule that regulates GH signaling to access the activated GHR/JAK2 complex and envision sol IGF-1R as a dominant-negative inhibitor of this IGF-1R-mediated augmentation. Physiological implications of this new model are discussed.Molecular Endocrinology 09/2014; 28(11):me20141174. DOI:10.1210/me.2014-1174 · 4.20 Impact Factor