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Fluorescent Neuraminidase Assay Based on Supramolecular Dye Capture After Enzymatic Cleavage

Liu, Wenqi, Gómez-Durán, César F. A., Smith, Bradley D.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2017 v.139 no.18 pp. 6390-6395
aqueous solutions, colorimetry, drugs, fluorescence, influenza, patients, photostability, point-of-care systems, sialic acid, sialidase
A conceptually new type of enzymatic cleavage assay is reported that utilizes in situ supramolecular capture of the fluorescent product. A squaraine-derived substrate with large blocking groups at each end of its structure cannot be threaded by a tetralactam macrocycle until the blocking groups are removed by enzyme cleavage. A prototype design responds to viral neuraminidase, an indicator of influenza infection, and also measures susceptibility of the sample to neuraminidase inhibitor drugs. The substrate structure incorporates three key features: (a) a bis(4-amino-3-hydroxyphenyl)squaraine core with bright deep-red fluorescence and excellent photostability, (b) an N-methyl group at each end of the squaraine core that ensures fast macrocycle threading kinetics, and (c) sialic acid blocking groups that prevent macrocycle threading until they are removed by viral neuraminidase. The enzyme assay can be conducted in aqueous solution where dramatic colorimetric and fluorescence changes are easily observed by the naked eye. Alternatively, affinity capture beads coated with macrocycle can be used to immobilize the liberated squaraine and enable a range of heterogeneous analysis options. With further optimization, this new type of neuraminidase assay may be useful in a point of care clinic to rapidly diagnose influenza infection and also determine which of the approved antiviral inhibitor drugs is likely to be the most effective treatment for an individual patient. The assay design is generalizable and can be readily modified to monitor virtually any type of enzyme-catalyzed cleavage reaction.