Analytical biochemistry

Thiol-reactive, luminescent Europium chelates: luminescence probes for resonance energy transfer distance measurements in biomolecules.

PMID 9177747


Lanthanide chelates have recently been shown to be extremely promising luminescence probes for distance measurements in biomolecules using luminescence resonance energy transfer measurements [P. R. Selvin, T. M. Rana, and J. E. Hearst (1994) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 116, 6029-6030; P. R. Selvin, and J. E. Hearst (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 10024-10028]. In this work we describe simple procedures for preparing highly fluorescent thiol-reactive europium chelates. These new compounds contain a uv-absorbing coumarin group which sensitizes europium emission, diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid or triethylenetetraaminehexaacetic acid groups which provide europium chelating function, and a pyridyl disulfide group which allows specific modification of thiol groups. These reagents can be used to label proteins at Cys residues or synthetic oligonucleotides which contain thiol groups. Modification can be reversed easily by treatment with a reducing agent (dithiothreitol). Luminescence energy transfer between these new chelates and CY5 fluorochrome attached to the opposite ends of 15-bp double-stranded DNA was measured to test their usefulness for distance measurements in macromolecules. The distance measured between the chelate (donor) and CY5 (acceptor) was in the range expected for the length of 15-bp DNA. The stability of europium chelates and their conjugates with a protein, the precision of distance measurements using these chelates, possible errors due to intramolecular energy transfer, and the modulation of the R0 value with deuterium oxide were tested. The results obtained fully confirmed the great potential of these new probes for sensitive, simple, and precise distance measurements in biomolecules using luminescence resonance energy transfer.

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