A fluorescence resonance energy transfer activation sensor for Arf6.

Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.
The involvement of the small GTPase Arf6 in Rac activation, cell migration, and cancer invasiveness suggests that it is activated in a spatially and temporally regulated manner. Small GTPase activation has been imaged in cells using probes in which the GTPase and a fragment of a downstream effector protein are fused to fluorescent reporter proteins that constitute a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) donor/acceptor pair. Unlike other Ras family GTPases, the N terminus of Arf6 is critical for membrane targeting and, thus, cannot be modified by fusion to a fluorescent protein. We found that the previously described C-terminal green fluorescent protein (GFP) derivative also shows diminished membrane targeting. Therefore, we inserted a fluorescent protein into an inert loop within the Arf6 sequence. This fusion showed normal membrane targeting, nucleotide-dependent interaction with the downstream effector GGA3, and normal regulation by a GTPase-activating protein (GAP) and a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF). Using the recently developed CyPET/YPET fluorescent proteins as a FRET pair, we found that Arf6-CyPET underwent efficient energy transfer when bound to YPET-GGA3 effector domain in intact cells. The addition of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) to fibroblasts triggered a rapid and transient increase in FRET, indicative of Arf6 activation. These reagents should be useful for investigations of Arf6 activation and function.
Mesh Terms:
ADP-Ribosylation Factors, Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport, Animals, Biosensing Techniques, Cell Line, Enzyme Activation, Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer, GTP Phosphohydrolases, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Humans, Mice, Peptide Fragments, rac GTP-Binding Proteins
Anal. Biochem. Mar. 15, 2008; 374(2);243-9 [PUBMED:18162163]
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