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Anal Chem. 2009 Mar 1;81(5):1755-61. doi: 10.1021/ac801663y.

Mechanism of chromophore assisted laser inactivation employing fluorescent proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Chromophore assisted laser inactivation (CALI) is a technique that uses irradiation of chromophores proximate to a target protein to inactivate function. Previously, enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) mediated CALI has been used to inactivate EGFP-fusion proteins in a spatio-temporally defined manner within cells, but the mechanism of inactivation is unknown. To help elucidate the mechanism of protein inactivation mediated by fluorescent protein CALI ([FP]-CALI), the activities of purified glutathione-S-transferase-FP (GST-EXFP) fusions were measured after laser irradiation in vitro. Singlet oxygen and free radical quenchers as well as the removal of oxygen inhibited CALI, indicating the involvement of a reactive oxygen species (ROS). At higher concentrations of protein, turbidity after CALI increased significantly indicating cross-linking of proximate fusion proteins suggesting that damage of residues on the surface of the protein, distant from the active site, results in inactivation. Control experiments removed sample heating as a possible cause of these effects. Different FP mutants fused to GST vary in their CALI efficiency in the order enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) > enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) > enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP), while a GST construct that binds fluorescein-based arsenical hairpin binder (FlAsH) results in significantly higher CALI efficiency than any of the fluorescent proteins (XFPs) tested. It is likely that the hierarchy of XFP effectiveness reflects the balance between ROS that are trapped within the XFP structure and cause fluorophore and chromophore bleaching and those that escape to effect CALI of proximate proteins.

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