Investigation of noncalcium interactions of fura-2 by classical and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy.
Several authors have reported unexpected intracellular spectra of both indo-1 and fura-2. One of the major methodological problems in the evaluation of calcium concentration using fluorescent probes is that it is assumed that only two forms of the dyes are detectable within the cells. We show in this study of fura-2 properties that this calcium probe is pH-sensitive and able to bind to cellular proteins. The excitation spectra of protonated and protein-bound forms of fura-2 exhibit a maximum in the same region as that associated with the calcium-free form (i.e., near 365 nm). The very small shift in the excitation spectra upon proton or protein binding precludes the use of classical methods to determine the spectral composition of mixtures of several forms of fura-2. We therefore used the synchronous fluorescence technique to detect the protein-bound form of fura-2 selectively, in order to assess the pH dependence of the fura-2/protein interaction. The nonspecific binding of fura-2 to proteins is reinforced at acidic pH and inhibited by calcium. The fact that the same type of interaction was found between fura-2 and poly-L-lysine suggests that it could be mediated by basic amino acids. Because of the strong overlap of the excitation spectrum of the unprotonated free fura-2 with those associated with the protonated and protein-bound forms, a cytoplasmic acidification may lead to an artifactual measurement of low calcium levels.
Bancel, F; Salmon, JM; Vigo, J; Vo-Dinh, T; Viallet, P
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