Various fluorogenic assays exist for monitoring the activity of inflammatory caspases. However, there are no continuous assays that provide C-terminal substrate sequence specificity for inflammatory caspases. As a first step towards this, we have developed a continuous in vitro assay that relies on monitoring emission from tryptophan after cleavage of a quenching coumarin chromophore. The coumarin can be attached as an amino acid side chain or capping the C-terminus of the peptide. When the coumarin is a side chain, it allows for C-terminal and N-terminal sequence specificities to be explored. Using this assay, we obtained Michaelis-Menten kinetic data for four proof-of-principle peptides: WEHD-AMC (KM = 15 ± 2 μM), WEHD-MCA (KM = 93 ± 19 μM), WEHDG-MCA (KM = 21 ± 6 μM) and WEHDA-MCA (KM = 151 ± 37 μM), where AMC is 7-amino-4-methylcoumarin and MCA is β-(7-methoxy-coumarin-4-yl)-Ala. The results indicate the viability of this new assay approach in the design of effective fluorogenic substrates for inflammatory caspases.
Keywords: Caspase-1 substrate; Fluorogenic peptides; Tryptophan fluorescence.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.