Understanding the functional complexity of protein interactions requires mapping biomolecular complexes within the cellular environment over biologically relevant time scales. Herein, we describe a set of reversible multicolored heteroprotein complementation fragments based on various firefly and click beetle luciferases that utilize the same substrate, D-luciferin. Luciferase heteroprotein fragment complementation systems enabled dual-color quantification of two discrete pairs of interacting proteins simultaneously or two distinct proteins interacting with a third shared protein in live cells. Using real-time analysis of click beetle green and click beetle red luciferase heteroprotein fragment complementation applied to β-TrCP, an E3-ligase common to the regulation of both β-catenin and IκBα, GSK3β was identified as a candidate kinase regulating IκBα processing. These dual-color protein interaction switches may enable directed dynamic analysis of a variety of protein interactions in living cells.
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