Talanta 2013 May 8;109:141-6. Epub 2013 Feb 8.
State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430071, China.
Due to the complicated media, monitoring proteases in real physiological environments is still a big challenge. Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) is one of the promising techniques but its application is limited by the susceptibility to buffer composition, which might cause serious errors for the assay. Herein we report a novel combination of BRET pair with humanized Gaussia luciferase (hGluc) and highly bright red fluorescence protein tdTomato for sensitive and robust protease activity determination. As a result, the hGluc/tdTomato BRET pair showed much better tolerance to buffer composition, pH and sample matrices, and wide spectral separation (Δλ:~110 nm). With the protease sensor built with this pair, the detection limit for enterokinase reached 2.1 pM in pure buffer and 3.3 pM in 3% serum. The proposed pair would find broad use in both in vitro and in vivo assays, especially for samples with complicated matrix.