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Methods Enzymol. 1991;197:3-23.

Assay strategies and methods for phospholipases.


Of the general considerations discussed, the two issues which are most important in choosing an assay are (1) what sensitivity is required to assay a particular enzyme and (2) whether the assay must be continuous. One can narrow the options further by considering substrate availability, enzyme specificity, assay convenience, or the presence of incompatible side reactions. In addition, the specific preference of a particular phospholipase for polar head group, micellar versus vesicular substrates, and anionic versus nonionic detergents may further restrict the options. Of the many assays described in this chapter, several have limited applicability or serious drawbacks and are not commonly employed. The most commonly used phospholipase assays are the radioactive TLC assay and the pH-stat assay. The TLC assay is probably the most accurate, sensitive assay available. These aspects often outweigh the disadvantages of being discontinuous, tedious, and expensive. The radioactive E. coli assay has become popular recently as an alternative to the TLC assay for the purification of the mammalian nonpancreatic phospholipases. The assay is less time consuming and less expensive than the TLC assay, but it is not appropriate when careful kinetics are required. Where less sensitivity is needed, or when a continuous assay is necessary, the pH-stat assay is often employed. With purified enzymes, when free thiol groups are not present, a spectrophotometric thiol assay can be used. This assay is approximately as sensitive as the pH-stat assay but is more convenient and more reproducible, although the substrate is not available commercially. Despite the many assay choices available, the search continues for a convenient, generally applicable assay that is both sensitive and continuous. The spectrophotometric SIBLINKS assay and some of the fluorescent assays show promise of filling this need.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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