Methods in Molecular Biology
The inherent complexity of the proteome often demands that it be studied as manageable subsets, termed subproteomes. A subproteome can be defined in a number of ways, although a pragmatic approach is to define it based on common features in an active site that lead to binding of a common small molecule ligand (ex. a cofactor or a cross-reactive drug lead). The subproteome, so defined, can be purified using that common ligand tethered to a resin, with affinity chromatography. Affinity purification of a subproteome is described in the next chapter. That subproteome can then be analyzed using a common ligand probe, such as a fluorescent common ligand that can be used to stain members of the subproteome in a native gel. Here, we describe such a fluorescent probe, based on a catechol rhodanine acetic acid (CRAA) ligand that binds to dehydrogenases. The CRAA ligand is fluorescent and binds to dehydrogenases at pH > 7, and hence can be used effectively to stain dehydrogenases in native gels to identify what subset of proteins in a mixture are dehydrogenases. Furthermore, if one is designing inhibitors to target one or more of these dehydrogenases, the CRAA staining can be performed in a competitive assay format, with or without inhibitor, to assess the selectivity of the inhibitor for the targeted dehydrogenase. Finally, the CRAA probe is a privileged scaffold for dehydrogenases, and hence can easily be modified to increase affinity for a given dehydrogenase.