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Semi-synthetic Aequorins With Improved Sensitivity To Ca2+ Ions

O Shimomura, B Musicki, Y Kishi

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Thirty-seven coelenterazine analogues were synthesized and incorporated into apo-aequorin, yielding 30 semi-synthetic aequorins that have the capacity to emit a significant amount of light in the presence of Ca2+. The properties of resultant photoproteins were investigated. The most prominent feature of those photoproteins was the wide range in their sensitivities to Ca2+ concentration. The relative intensity of Ca2+-triggered luminescence of the photoproteins ranged from 0.01 to 190 when compared with natural aequorin (relative intensity 1.0) at pCa 6 for the cases where the relative intensity is less than 1 and at pCa 7 for the cases where the relative intensity is higher than 1. Eight of the semi-synthetic aequorins belonged to the class of e-aequorin. With two of those photoproteins, the degree of dependence of the luminescence intensity ratio I400/I465 on pCa was greater than that with e-aequorin, suggesting that these two photoproteins are possibly superior to e-aequorin in measuring Ca2+ concentration by the ratio method.