DEC 19, 2018 03:40 PM PST

Novel Imaging Technique Enables Real-time Monitoring of Drug-induced Protein-protein Interaction

Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are a common cellular phenomenon in which two or more protein molecules have close, specific physical contact that's driven by the electrostatic forces. PIPs often result in one of the participating components being activated or repressed. Therefore, they attract a lot of interest from the biomedical and pharmaceutical community for being potential targets of intervention.

One of the methods to explore PPIs is to use fluorophore phase transition-based assays, during which fluorescent probes are induced to be released from one phase (e.g. among lipid membrane) into another (e.g. solute or cytosol). Most of these assays produce an intensely bright signal but with poor spatial resolution.

On the other hand, methods that utilize Förster resonance energy transfer, or FRET, can produce a favorable spatial resolution. The transfer of energy from the donor molecule to the receptor molecule gives out a fluorescence signal that allows better localization of PPIs. However, FRET-based approaches have low signal-over-noise ratios, making it hard to discern the difference between signals and the background.

Scientists from the University of California—San Francisco reported that they have developed with a new technique called SPPIER, or separation of phases-based protein interaction reporter gene. Their method genetically encoded a green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the gene/protein of interest.  When a PPI is induced (by potential therapeutics), SPPIER rapidly forms droplets that contain a large amount of GFP.

In one of their proof-of-concept test, the researchers tested the technique on a PPI induced by IMiDs an immunomodulatory drug. The interaction between cereblon and Ikaros can lead to the degradation of the latter.  SPPIER was able to allow scientists to image the PPI with high resolution and decent signal-to-noise ratio. Similar results were also observed in a few other PPIs.

The UCSF group hope that their fluorophore phase transition based assay can be applied in high-throughput screening, considering its "large fluorescence change, high brightness, and easily recognizable signal pattern".

Their work was published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Source: ACS via Youtube

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
DEC 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 24, 2018
Saturn Won't Have its Rings Forever, So Enjoy Them While They Last
If you’ve been following the news lately, then you might’ve heard that Saturn is losing its rings more quickly than astronomers ever realized....
DEC 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2018
Are Some Super-Earth Exoplanets Rich in Rubies and Sapphires?
Astronomers are always peeking through the lenses of their fancy space telescopes to learn more about the universe around us. One thing that captivates the...
JAN 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
JAN 20, 2019
Astronomers Use Saturn's Rings to Precisely Calculate the Planet's Rate of Rotation
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft executed a suicidal death plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere in 2017, but years’ worth of scientific data amassed...
FEB 04, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
FEB 04, 2019
Insight Into the Earliest Stages of Life on Earth
Scientists have been looking for the origins of life on earth for many years. One theory that has emerged involves a biological molecule called RNA....
FEB 03, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 03, 2019
Explaining the Strange Orbit of 'The Goblin' with... a Ninth Planet?
Astronomers have tried to prove the existence of a ninth planet in our solar system for the better part of the last decade. This hypothetical planet has be...
FEB 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 20, 2019
Astronomers Discover Another Moon Orbiting Neptune
Our home planet of Earth only sports a single natural satellite that we subtly refer to as the ‘Moon.’ On the other hand, it’s evident th...
Loading Comments...