Competitive binding assay using fluorescence resonance energy transfer for the identification of calmodulin antagonists

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12 Scopus citations


The ubiquitous calcium regulating protein calmodulin (CaM) has been utilized as a model drug target in the design of a competitive binding fluorescence resonance energy transfer assay for pharmacological screening. The protein was labeled by covalently attaching the thiol-reactive fluorophore, N-[2-(1-maleimidyl)ethyl]-7-(diethylamino)coumarin-3-carboxamide (MDCC) to an engineered C-terminal cysteine residue. Binding of the environmentally sensitive hydrophobic probe 2,6-anilinonaphthalene sulfonate (2,6-ANS) to CaM could be monitored by an increase in the fluorescence emission intensity of the 2,6-ANS. Evidence of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) from 2,6-ANS (acting as a donor) to MDCC (the acceptor in this system) was also observed; fluorescence emission representative of MDCC could be seen after samples were excited at a wavelength specific for 2,6-ANS. The FRET signal was monitored as a function of the concentration of calmodulin antagonists in solution. Calibration curves for both a selection of small molecules and a series of peptides based upon known CaM-binding domains were obtained using this system. The assay demonstrated dose-dependent antagonism by analytes known to hinder the biological activity of CaM. These data indicate that the presence of molecules known to bind CaM interfere with the ability of FRET to occur, thus leading to a concentration-dependent decrease of the ratio of acceptor:donor fluorescence emission. This assay can serve as a general model for the development of other protein binding assays intended to screen for molecules with preferred binding activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1263
Number of pages7
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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