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Nat Protoc. 2011 Mar;6(3):365-87. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.305. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Analysis of protein-ligand interactions by fluorescence polarization.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Quantification of the associations between biomolecules is required both to predict and understand the interactions that underpin all biological activity. Fluorescence polarization (FP) provides a nondisruptive means of measuring the association of a fluorescent ligand with a larger molecule. We describe an FP assay in which binding of fluorescein-labeled inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3)) to N-terminal fragments of IP(3) receptors can be characterized at different temperatures and in competition with other ligands. The assay allows the standard Gibbs free energy (ΔG°), enthalpy (ΔH°) and entropy (ΔS°) changes of ligand binding to be determined. The method is applicable to any purified ligand-binding site for which an appropriate fluorescent ligand is available. FP can be used to measure low-affinity interactions in real time without the use of radioactive materials, it is nondestructive and, with appropriate care, it can resolve ΔH° and ΔS°. The first part of the protocol, protein preparation, may take several weeks, whereas the FP measurements, once they have been optimized, would normally take 1-6 h.

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