Proc. SPIE. 4967, Genetically Engineered and Optical Probes for Biomedical Applications
KEYWORDS: Proteins, Green fluorescent protein, Luminescence, Energy transfer, Gallium arsenide, Resonance energy transfer, Receptors, Bioluminescence, Dynamical systems, Simulation of CCA and DLA aggregates
Luciferases are used as the reporter gene for promoter activity, whereas a green fluorescent protein (GFP) is used as marker for cellular function and localization. Recently, bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) between luciferase and YFP is used for analysis of inter-molecular reaction such as ligand-receptor in the living cells. The neuropeptides nocistatin (NST) and nociceptin/orphanin FQ (Noc/OFQ) are derived from the same precursor protein, while NST exhibits antagonism against Noc/OFQ-actions. In this study, we attempt an intra-molecular BRET system for monitoring dynamic biological process of the production of NST and Noc/OFQ in the living cells. At first, we constructed a fusion protein (Rluc-GFP) covalently linking luciferase (Renilla luciferase; Rluc) to Aequorea GFP as an intra-molecular BRET partner. Furthermore, we inserted constructs of mouse NST and Noc/OFQ (Rluc-m-GFP) or bovine NST and Noc/OFQ (Rluc-b-GFP) containing a proteolytic cleavage motif (Lys-Arg) within Rluc-GFP. When these constructions were transfected into Cos7 cells, all fusion proteins had luciferase activity and specific fluorescence. Luminescence spectra of Rluc-GFP, Rluc-m-GFP and Rluc-b-GFP fusion proteins with DeepBlueC as a substrate showed two peaks centered at 400 nm and 510 nm, whereas Rluc showed one peak centered at 400 nm. These results indicate that the proteolytic cleavage motif inserted fusion proteins between luciferase and GFP are available for intra-molecular BRET systems at first step.