No-Wash Protein Labeling with Designed Fluorogenic Probes and Application to Real-Time Pulse-Chase Analysis

Small molecule labeling techniques for cellular proteins under physiological conditions are very promising for revealing new biological functions. We developed a no-wash fluorogenic labeling system by exploiting fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based fluorescein-cephalosporin-azopyridinium probes and a mutant β-lactamase tag. Fast quencher elimination, hydrophilicity, and high resistance against autodegradation were achieved by rational refinement of the structure. By applying the probe to real-time pulse-chase analysis, the trafficking of epidermal growth factor receptors between cell surface and intracellular region was imaged. In addition, membrane-permeable derivatization of the probe enabled no-wash fluorogenic labeling of intracellular proteins.