Detection of epitope-tagged proteins in flow cytometry: fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based assays on beads with femtomole resolution.
Epitope tagging of expressed proteins is a versatile tool for the detection and purification of the proteins. This approach has been used in protein-protein interaction studies, protein localization, and immunoprecipitation. Among the most popular tag systems is the FLAG epitope tag, which is recognized by three monoclonal antibodies M1, M2, and M5. We describe novel approaches to the detection of epitope-tagged proteins via fluorescence resonance energy transfer on beads. We have synthesized and characterized biotinylated and fluorescein-labeled FLAG peptides and examined the binding of FLAG peptides to commercial streptavidin beads using flow cytometric analysis. A requirement of assay development is the elucidation of parameters that characterize the binding interactions between component systems. We have thus compiled a set of Kd values determined from a series of equilibrium binding experiments with beads, peptides, and antibodies. We have defined conditions for binding biotinylated and fluoresceinated FLAG peptides to beads. Site occupancies of the peptides were determined to be on the order of several million sites per bead and Kd values in the 0.3-2.0 nM range. The affinity for antibody attachment to peptides was determined to be in the low nanomolar range (less than 10 nM) for measurements on beads and solution. We demonstrate the applicability of this methodology to assay development, by detecting femtomole amounts of N-terminal FLAG-bacteria alkaline phosphatase fusion protein. These characterizations form the basis of generalizable and high throughput assays for proteins with known epitopes, for research, proteomic, or clinical applications.
Buranda, T; Lopez, GP; Simons, P; Pastuszyn, A; Sklar, LA
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