Enzymes, macrocycles, and fluorescent dyes, oh my!


In the August issue of Nature Methods, which just came out on Monday, we have an exciting and decidedly chemistry-based paper from Werner Nau and colleagues at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany (and it even made the cover!). The authors describe a new concept for enzyme assays using a macrocycle as a receptor for a fluorescent dye and for an enzyme product. When the enzyme arrives on the scene and begins converting the substrate (which does not interact with the macrocycle) to product, the product starts displacing the fluorescent dye from the macrocycle, causing a switch-on in fluorescence. Of course, the macrocycle and dye need to be carefully chosen for each application such that the dye is out-competed by the enzyme product, but once a suitable pair is found, it provides a simple and convenient readout for enzyme activity.

Check it out!

Also of interest: a Review on caged compounds and their application in living cells and an Article describing a rapid method for detecting infectious scrapie prion protein.