Development of the assay using a double-tagged substrate (biotin & DNP)
Caspases are cysteine proteases presenting a conserved active site that cleaves protein substrates at a highly specific position. They are involved in different aspects of the active cell death pathway. Most of them act through proteolytic degradations of cellular components. This paper describes the assay development, assay validation, and screening for inhibitors of this enzyme, which could be potential drug candidates. The assay uses homogeneous time-resolved fluorescence based on energy transfer from europium cryptate as donor to cross-linked allophycocyanin as acceptor (XL665). A double-tagged substrate, biotinyl-aminocaproyl-L-aspartyl-L-glutamyl-L-valyl-L-aspartyl-L-alanyl-L-propyl-N-(2,4-dinitrophenyl)-L-lysine-amide (biotin-X-DEVDAPK(dnp)-NH2), is conjugated with streptavidin cryptate and anti-dnp-XL665 monoclonal antibody. The close proximity between donor and acceptor induces a specific time-resolved fluorescence signal. In the presence of enzyme activity, the substrate cleavage induces an unlinking of the two fluorescent probes and, subsequently, the disappearance of the specific signal as a result of loss of proximity. Experiments to optimize the reagent concentration, incubation times, precision, reproducibility, and robustness are discussed in comparison with a fluorometric method.
J Biomol Screen. 2002;7(3):267-74.