FluoroCalins represent novel bifunctional protein reagents derived from engineered lipocalins fused to a fluorescent reporter protein, here the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). We demonstrate the construction, facile bacterial production and broad applicability of FluoroCalins using two Anticalin® molecules directed against the tumor vasculature-associated extra domain B of fibronectin (ED-B) and the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3, a marker of tumor and lymphangiogenesis. FluoroCalins were prepared with two different spacers: (i) a short Ser3Ala linker and (ii) a long hydrophilic and conformationally unstructured PASylation® polypeptide comprising 200 Pro, Ala and Ser residues. These FluoroCalins were applied for direct target quantification in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as well as target detection by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy of live and fixed cells, respectively, demonstrating high specificity and signal-to-noise ratio. Hence, FluoroCalins offer a promising alternative to antibody-based reagents for state of the art fluorescent in vitro detection and biomolecular imaging.
Keywords: ED-B; PASylation; VEGFR-3; anticalin; eGFP.
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