A recombinant fusion protein-based, fluorescent protease assay for high throughput-compatible substrate screening

Beáta Bozóki, Lívia Gazda, Ferenc Tóth, Márió Miczi, János András Mótyán, J. Tőzsér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


In connection with the intensive investigation of proteases, several methods have been developed for analysis of the substrate specificity. Due to the great number of proteases and the expected target molecules to be analyzed, time- and cost-efficient high-throughput screening (HTS) methods are preferred. Here we describe the development and application of a separation-based HTS-compatible fluorescent protease assay, which is based on the use of recombinant fusion proteins as substrates of proteases. The protein substrates used in this assay consists of N-terminal (hexahistidine and maltose binding protein) fusion tags, cleavage sequences of the tobacco etch virus (TEV) and HIV-1 proteases, and a C-terminal fluorescent protein (mApple or mTurquoise2). The assay is based on the fluorimetric detection of the fluorescent proteins, which are released from the magnetic bead-attached substrates by the proteolytic cleavage. The protease assay has been applied for activity measurements of TEV and HIV-1 proteases to test the suitability of the system for enzyme kinetic measurements, inhibition studies, and determination of pH optimum. We also found that denatured fluorescent proteins can be renatured after SDS-PAGE of denaturing conditions, but showed differences in their renaturation abilities. After in-gel renaturation both substrates and cleavage products can be identified by in-gel UV detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Fluorescent protein
  • HTS-compatible
  • Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease
  • Protease assay
  • Recombinant fusion protein substrate
  • Tobacco etch virus protease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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