Johanna Vuojola

University of Turku, Turku, Varsinais-Suomi, Finland

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Publications (7)34.46 Total impact

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    Johanna Vuojola · Tero Soukka
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lanthanides represent the chemical elements from lanthanum to lutetium. They intrinsically exhibit some very exciting photophysical properties, which can be further enhanced by incorporating the lanthanide ion into organic or inorganic sensitizing structures. A very popular approach is to conjugate the lanthanide ion to an organic chromophore structure forming lanthanide chelates. Another approach, which has quickly gained interest, is to incorporate the lanthanide ions into nanoparticle structures, thus attaining improved specific activity and a large surface area for biomolecule immobilization. Lanthanide-based reporters, when properly shielded from the quenching effects of water, usually express strong luminescence emission, multiple narrow emission lines covering a wide wavelength range, and exceptionally long excited state lifetimes enabling time-gated luminescence detection. Because of these properties, lanthanide-based reporters have found widespread applications in various fields of life. This review focuses on the field of bioanalytical applications. Luminescent lanthanide reporters and assay formats utilizing these reporters pave the way for increasingly sensitive, simple, and easily automated bioanalytical applications.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2014
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of biomolecular interactions is at the heart of biomedical research. Fluorescence and Förster resonance energy-transfer (FRET) are potent and versatile tools in studying these interactions. Fluorescent proteins enable genetic encoding which facilitates their use in recombinant protein and in vivo applications. To eliminate the autofluorescence background encountered in applications based on fluorescent proteins lanthanide labels can be used as donor fluorophores. Their long emission lifetime enables the use of time-gating that significantly improves assay sensitivity. In this work we have combined the favorable characteristics of a terbium-ion containing lanthanide-binding peptide (Tb3+-LBP) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) in a FRET-based homogeneous protease activity assay. The used genetically engineered construct had LBP and GFP sequences at adjacent ends of a linker that encoded the recognition sequence for caspase-3. Caspase proteases are central mediators in apoptosis and are consequently of great interest in pharmaceutical industry. The designed fluorogenic protease substrate was applied for the detection of caspase-3 activity. We were able to demonstrate, for the first time, the applicability of a Tb3+-LBP-GFP energy-transfer pair in a protease activity assay. The intrinsically fluorescent and genetically encodable components enable easy expression of the construct without the need of cumbersome chemical labeling. By varying the fluorescent protein and the protease specificity of the internal linker sequence the method can be applied for the detection of a wide variety of proteases.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Analytical Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Caspase proteases are key mediators in apoptosis and thus of great interest in pharmaceutical industry. Enzyme-activity assays are commonly employed in the screening of protease inhibitors that are potential drug candidates. Conventional homogeneous fluorescence-based assays are susceptible to autofluorescence originating from biological material. This background autofluorescence can be eliminated by using upconverting phosphors (UCPs) that emit visible light upon excitation at near-infrared. In the assay energy was transferred from a UCP-donor to a conventional fluorophore acceptor that resided at one end of a caspase-3-specific substrate peptide. Attached to the other end was a quencher molecule that was used to attenuate the acceptor emission through intramolecular energy transfer in an intact peptide. In non-inhibitory conditions the enzyme reaction separated the fluorophore from the quencher and the emission of the fluorophore was recovered. The method was applied for the detection and characterization of a known caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-FMK, and the assay gave IC(50) values of approximately 13 nM for this inhibitor. We have demonstrated the applicability of UCPs on a fluorescence-quenching-based homogeneous enzyme-activity assay for the detection of caspase-3 inhibitors. The use of near-infrared excitable UCPs enables inexpensive instrumentation and total elimination of autofluorescence, while the use of an internally quenched substrate molecule diminishes the background resulting from radiatively excited acceptor molecules. The reduction of autofluorescence and radiative background result in high signal-to-background ratios (ratios of approximately 100 were obtained). By further utilizing assay miniaturization and signal enhancement in a white microtitration plate, a significant reduction in the reagent consumption can be achieved rendering the assay applicable for high-throughput screening.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Analytica chimica acta
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Förster resonance energy-transfer (FRET) is a powerful and widely applied bioanalytical tool. According to the definition of FRET by Förster, for energy-transfer to take place, a substantial spectral overlap between the donor emission and acceptor excitation spectra is required. Recently also a phenomenon termed nonoverlapping FRET (nFRET) has been reported. The nFRET phenomenon is based on energy-transfer between a lanthanide chelate donor and a spectrally nonoverlapping acceptor and thus obviously differs from the conventional FRET, but the mechanism of nFRET and resulting implications to assay design have not been thoroughly examined. In this work, a homogeneous DNA-hybridization assay was constructed to study the distance and temperature dependency of both nFRET and conventional FRET. Capture oligonucleotides were labeled at the 5'-end with a Eu(III)-chelate, and these conjugates hybridized to complementary tracer oligonucleotides labeled with an organic fluorophore at various distances from the 3'-end. The distance dependency was studied with a fluorometer utilizing time-resolution, and the temperature dependency was studied using a frequency-domain (FD) luminometer. Results demonstrated a difference in both the distance and temperature dependency between conventional FRET and nFRET. On the basis of our measurements, we propose that in nFRET thermal excitation occurs from the lowest radiative state of the ion to a higher excited state that is either ionic or associated with a ligand-to-metal charge-transfer state.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · The Journal of Physical Chemistry B
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upconverting phosphors (UCPs) are lanthanide-doped sub-micrometer-sized particles, which produce multiple narrow and well-separated anti-Stokes emission bands at visible wavelengths under infrared excitation (980 nm). The advantageous features of UCPs were utilized to construct a dual-parameter, homogeneous sandwich hybridization assay based on a UCP donor and lanthanide resonance energy transfer (LRET). UCPs with two emission bands (540 nm and 653 nm) were exploited together with two appropriate fluorophores as acceptors. The energy transfer excited emissions of the acceptors were measured at 600 nm and 740 nm without any significant interference from each other. The autofluorescence limitation associated with conventional fluorescence was totally avoided as the measurements were carried out at shorter wavelength relative to the excitation. In the sandwich hybridization assay two different single-stranded target-oligonucleotide sequences were detected simultaneously and quantitatively with a dynamic range from 0.03 to 0.4 pmol (corresponding 0.35-5.4 nM). The UCPs enable multiplexed homogeneous LRET-based assay requiring only a single excitation wavelength, which simplifies the detection and extends the applicability of upconversion in bioanalytical measurements.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2009 · The Analyst
  • Johanna Vuojola · Urpo Lamminmäki · Tero Soukka
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a powerful tool in studying biomolecular interactions. Intrinsically fluorescent lanthanide chelates are increasingly used as FRET donors due to their long emission lifetime that enables the use of time resolution. Fluorescent proteins, on the other hand, owe their popularity to the intrinsic luminescent properties, facilitating their use as fusion proteins. In this investigation, two energy transfer pairs, terbium(III) chelate with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and europium(III) chelate with yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), were studied by expressing the fluorescent protein acceptor as a fusion protein together with Rab21 GTPase. GTP-conjugated lanthanide chelates were used as donor conjugates. In contrast to conventional FRET observed with the Tb(3+)-GFP pair, a phenomenon called nonoverlapping FRET (nFRET) was observed with the Eu(3+)-YFP pair. In nFRET, the sensitized emission of the acceptor was measured at shorter wavelength than where the emission of the donor was observed. Regardless of the lower signal levels, nFRET resulted in a substantially higher signal-to-background ratio. Conventional FRET from sensitized acceptor yielded a single apparent fluorescence emission lifetime, while with nFRET two lifetimes were observed. The lanthanide chelates together with fluorescent proteins enable a straightforward and sensitive assay technology in nFRET applications.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Analytical Chemistry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Switch the lights off! A novel sensitive enzyme-activity assay combines the advantageous features of upconverting phosphors (UCPs) and fluorescence quenching. The new assay principle allows the use of fluorescent particulate labels in a quenching-based assay despite the fact that it is not possible to achieve adequate quenching efficiency of particle fluorescence directly. Infrared excitation enables even the use of colorful samples. (Figure Presented)
    No preview · Article · May 2008 · Angewandte Chemie International Edition