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Azatryptophans endow proteins with intrinsic blue fluorescence
Citation key 055.2008.lepthien
Author Lepthien, S. and Hoesl, M. G. and Merkel, L. and Budisa, N.
Pages 16095-16100
Year 2008
DOI 10.1073/pnas.0802804105
Journal Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Volume 105
Number 42
Abstract Our long-term goal is the in vivo expression of intrinsically colored proteins without the need for further posttranslational modification or chemical functionalization by externally added reagents. Biocompatible (Aza)Indoles (Inds)/(Aza)Tryptophans (Trp) as optical probes represent almost ideal isosteric substitutes for natural Trp in cellular proteins. To overcome the limits of the traditionally used (7-Aza)Ind/(7-Aza)Trp, we substituted the single Trp residue in human annexin A5 (anxA5) by (4-Aza)Trp and (5-Aza)Trp in Trp-auxotrophic Escherichia coli cells. Both cells and proteins with these fluorophores possess intrinsic blue fluorescence detectable on routine UV irradiations. We identified (4-Aza)Ind as a superior optical probe due to its pronounced Stokes shift of ≈130 nm, its significantly higher quantum yield (QY) in aqueous buffers and its enhanced quenching resistance. Intracellular metabolic transformation of (4-Aza)Ind into (4-Aza)Trp coupled with high yield incorporation into proteins is the most straightforward method for the conversion of naturally colorless proteins and cells into their blue counterparts from amino acid precursors.
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