New Probe for Selective Intracellular Labeling

  • Author: Victoria Barton
  • Published Date: 14 June 2011
  • Source / Publisher: Chemiistry - A European Journal/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: New Probe for Selective Intracellular Labeling

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Probes that investigate protein structure, function, localization, and protein–protein interactions are highly sought; especially those that reduce stress to living systems.

Kazuya Kikuchi and co-workers, Osaka University, Japan, have developed cell-permeable probes based on a clinical β-lactamase (BL-tag) prodrug. Due to the quick entry and intracellular accumulation of the probe, very low probe concentrations were required, which enabled the detection of fluorescently labeled proteins without a washing step — usually required to remove unreacted probes — thus reducing stress to living cells.


Since cell-permeable probes for intracellular protein labeling are also recognized by the target proteins on the cell surface, the group developed a way of discriminating between membrane proteins and intracellular proteins in the same cell. To perform specific labeling with a single tag, the extracellular target proteins were blocked with cell-impermeable probes (see graphic; FA-green), which then allowed the specific labeling of intracellular proteins by cell-permeable probes (RB-red). This is important for understanding protein trafficking.


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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH