C-terminal and N-terminal fusions of aequorin with small peptides in immunoassay development

Sapna K. Deo, Jennifer C. Lewis, Sylvia Daunert

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14 Scopus citations


Aequorin fusion proteins have been used extensively in intracellular Ca2+ measurements and in the development of binding assays. Gene fusions to aequorin for production of fusion proteins have been so far limited to its N-terminus, as previous studies have indicated that aequorin loses its activity upon modification of its C-terminus. To further investigate this, two model peptides, an octapeptide (DTLDDDDL), and leu-enkephalin (TGGFL), an opioid peptide, were fused to the C-terminus of a cysteine-free mutant of aequorin through genetic engineering. The octapeptide was also fused to the N-terminus of the aequorin-leu-enkephalin fusion protein, which enables its affinity purification. Contrary to reports of earlier studies, we found that aequorin retains its bioluminescence activity after modification of the C-terminus. The half-life of light emission and the calibration curves obtained with the fusion proteins were comparable to those of the cysteine-free mutant of aequorin. Dose-response curves for the octapeptide were generated using two aequorin -octapeptide fusion proteins with the octapeptide fused to the N-terminus in one case, and to the C-terminus in the other. Similar detection limits for the octapeptide were obtained using both fusion proteins. The C-terminal fusion system has advantages in cases where antibodies recognize only the C-terminus of the peptide, as well as in cases where the functionality of the peptide lies in its C-terminus. The purification is also simplified as the affinity tag can be engineered at one terminus and the peptide of interest at the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-384
Number of pages7
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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