Fluorogenic metabolic probes for direct activity readout of redox enzymes: Selective measurement of human AKR1C2 in living cells.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2006 Sep 28;103(36):13304-9. Epub 2006 Aug 28.

Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, 3000 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA.

The current arsenal of tools and methods for the continuous monitoring and imaging of redox metabolic pathways in the context of intact cells is limited. Fluorogenic substrates allow for direct measurement of enzyme activity in situ; however, in contrast to proteases and exo-glycosidases, there are no simple guidelines for the design of selective probes for redox metabolic enzymes. Here, we introduce redox probe 1 and demonstrate its high selectivity in living cells for human hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSDs) of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily. AKR1C isoforms perform multiple functions among which the metabolism of potent steroid hormones is well documented. Moreover, expression of these enzymes is responsive to cellular stress and pathogenesis, including cancer. Our probe design is based on redox-sensitive optical switches, which couple a ketone-alcohol redox event to a profound change in fluorescence. The high selectivity of phenyl ketone 1 for AKR1C2 over the many endogenous reductases present in mammalian cells was established by a quantitative comparison of the metabolic rates between null control cells (COS-1) and AKR1C2-transfected cells. Phenyl ketone 1 is a cell-permeable fluorogenic probe that permits a direct, real-time, and operationally simple readout of AKR1C2 enzyme activity in intact mammalian cells. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that probe 1 enables the quantitative examination of physiological substrate 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone ("dark substrate") in situ by means of a two-substrate competitive assay. Similarly, inhibitor potency of physiological (ursodeoxycholate) and synthetic inhibitors (flufenamic acid, ibuprofen, and naproxen) was also readily evaluated.

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http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0604672103
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0604672103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1569159PMC
September 2006
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