The attachment of biotin to a small molecule provides a powerful tool in biology. Here, we present a systematic approach to identify biotinylated analogues of the Hsp90 inhibitor PU-H71 that are capable of permeating cell membranes so as to enable the investigation of Hsp90 complexes in live cells. The identified derivative 2g can isolate Hsp90 through affinity purification and, as we show, represents a unique and useful tool to probe tumor Hsp90 biology in live cells by affinity capture, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. To our knowledge, 2g is the only reported biotinylated Hsp90 probe to have such combined characteristics.
Keywords: PU-H71; affinity capture; biotin; flow cytometry; fluorescence microscopy; tumor Hsp90.