We have developed a miniaturized and multiplexed solution assay for the measurement of protease activity in complex samples. This technology can accelerate research in functional proteomics and enable biologists to carry out multiplexed protease inhibitor screens on a large scale. The assay readout is based on Illuminas universal Sentrix® BeadArrays. The peptide sequences that serve as protease substrates are conjugated to oligonucleotide sequences complementary to the oligo tags on randomly assembled and decoded bead arrays. The peptide portion is C-terminally labeled with a biotin residue and contains a sequence of five histidine residues on the amino terminus. The unique oligonucleotide part of each oligonucleotide-peptide conjugate is attached to amino terminus of the peptide sequence. Upon protease cleavage, the biotin residue is cleaved from the oligonucleotide-peptide conjugate. Following the reaction, all biotin-containing species are captured and removed by incubation with streptavidin beads. The cleaved conjugates that remain in solution are captured by hybridization of their oligo sequence to Sentrix BeadArrays and detected using a labeled antibody against pentahistidine tag of the conjugate or by an antibody sandwich assay. We have generated multiple sets of oligonucleotide tagged peptide substrates of varying complexity (100 to 1000 substrates in a mixture) and show that the response of individual substrate is independent of the complexity of the mixture. Our initial results demonstrate the feasibility of assaying proteases in a multiplexed environment with high sensitivity.
Keywords: Peptide-DNA Conjugates, Biotin resin, Hybridization, Sentrix Array Matrices, caspase cleavage
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