Photocleavable biotin derivatives: a versatile approach for the isolation of biomolecules

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Aug 1;92(16):7590-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.92.16.7590.


While the strong biotin-avidin interaction has been widely used for the detection of biomolecules, its irreversibility complicates their isolation. We report the synthesis of a photocleavable biotin derivative (PCB) which eliminates many limitations of existing methods. This reagent contains a biotin moiety linked through a spacer arm to a photocleavable moiety, which reacts selectively with primary amino groups on any substrate. In experiments using [leucine]-enkephalin as a model substrate, we show that PCB retains its high affinity toward avidin/streptavidin and allows rapid (< 5 min) and efficient (> 99%) photorelease of the substrate in a completely unaltered form. Photocleavable biotins should be useful in numerous applications involving the isolation of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Biotin / chemistry
  • Biotin / radiation effects*
  • Enkephalin, Leucine / chemistry
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Photochemistry


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Enkephalin, Leucine
  • Biotin