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Anal Biochem. 2001 Sep 15;296(2):208-17.

A method to measure the interaction of Rac/Cdc42 with their binding partners using fluorescence resonance energy transfer between mutants of green fluorescent protein.

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Medicines Research Centre, GlaxoSmithKline, Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 2NY, United Kingdom.


Enhanced blue fluorescent protein (EBFP) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) mutants of GFP in close proximity to one another can act as a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) pair. Unstructured amino acid linkers of varying length were inserted between EBFP and EGFP, revealing that linkers even as long as 50 amino acids can be accommodated and still allow FRET to occur. This led to the development of a novel biosensor for Rac/Cdc42 binding to their effector proteins based on the insertion of amino acids 75-118 of p21-activated kinase (PAK) between the GFP mutants. We demonstrate that this protein construct allows significant FRET between EBFP and EGFP and retains the ability to bind to Rac in its GTP-bound form with a binding affinity similar to the uncomplexed PAK fragment, and furthermore, on binding to Rac or Cdc42 a marked change in FRET takes place. This forms the basis for a simple, sensitive, and rapid method to measure binding of Rac/Cdc42 to their effector proteins. Since the signal is dependent upon the interaction with active GTP-bound forms it acts as a biosensor for the activation of Rac/Cdc42. It has the potential for use in live cells and for identifying localization of Rac/Cdc42 within subcellular compartments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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