Biosensors & bioelectronics

Sequential phosphorylation analysis using dye-tethered peptides and microfluidic isoelectric focusing electrophoresis.

PMID 26050965


We report a simple method for analyzing sequential phosphorylation by protein kinases using fluorescent peptide substrates and microfluidic isoelectric focusing (μIEF) electrophoresis. When a dye-labeled peptide substrate was sequentially phosphorylated by two consecutive protein kinases (mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3)), its differently phosphorylated forms were easily separated and visualized by fluorescent focusing zones in the μIEF channel based on a change in the isoelectric point (pI) by phosphorylation. As a result, ratiometric and quantitative analysis of the fluorescent focusing regions shifted by phosphorylation enabled the analysis of phosphorylation efficiency and the relevant inhibition of protein kinases (MAPK and GSK3) with high simplicity and selectivity. Furthermore, the GSK3 activity in the cell lysates was elucidated by μIEF electrophoresis in combination with immunoprecipitation. Our results suggest that this method has great potential for analyzing the sequential phosphorylation of multiple protein kinases that are implicated in cellular signaling pathways.