The application of a novel, cell permeable activity-based probe for the detection of cysteine cathepsins.

Caroline S. Hughes, George Shaw, Roberta E. Burden, Christopher J. Scott, Brendan F. Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cysteine cathepsins, such as cathepsin S (CTSS), are implicated in the pathology of a wide range of diseases and are of potential utility as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. In previous work, we demonstrated the potency and efficiency of a biotinylated diazomethylketone (DMK)-based activity-based probe (ABP), biotin-PEG-LVG-DMK, for disclosure of recombinant CTSS and CTSS in cell lysates. However, the limited cell permeability of both the biotin and spacer groups restricted detection of CTSS to cell lysates. The synthesis and characterisation of a cell permeable ABP to report on intracellular CTSS activity is reported. The ABP, Z-PraVG-DMK, a modified peptidyl diazomethylketone, was based on the N-terminus of human cystatin motif (Leu-Val-Gly). The leucine residue was substituted for the alkyne-bearing proparcylglycine to facilitate conjugation of an azide-tagged reporter group using click chemistry, following irreversible inhibition of CTSS. When incubated with viable Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells, Z-PraVG-DMK permitted disclosure of CTSS activity following cell lysis and rhodamine azide conjugation, by employing standard click chemistry protocols. Furthermore, the fluorescent tag facilitated direct detection of CTSS using in-gel fluorescent scanning, obviating the necessity for downstream biotin-streptavidin conjugation and detection procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-450
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 08 Apr 2016

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