Specific and highly efficient fluorescent labeling techniques for biomolecules, especially for proteins, are required for the quantitative analyses of bio-phenomena and for subsequent systems biology. Although expression of exogenous proteins fused with fluorescent tags, such as green fluorescent protein, is the most widely used method for quantitative bio-analysis, the following problems need to be considered carefully: (1) precise stoichiometric control in living cells is difficult, and (2) the bulkiness of the fluorescent tags restricts analysis of the inherent physical and biological properties of the proteins. Therefore, novel techniques to specifically and stoichiometrically label intrinsic proteins or other biomolecules in living cells should be developed. Click chemistry reactions (e.g., Huisgen cycloaddition and Staudinger ligation) are the most promising approaches for this purpose, because these chemical reactions have following advantages: (1) bioorthogonal reactions; (2) mild reaction conditions suitable for fragile biomolecules, cells, and tissues; (3) extremely high reaction ratio; (4) small size of the functional groups for the cross-coupling reactions; (5) stable covalent bonding; and (6) simple metabolic labeling procedures in living cells, using various biomolecular analogs. Diverse quantitative biological studies have been carried out using this technology (e.g., quantification of novel synthesized proteins and observation of post-translational modifications). In this review, I explain the basics of chemical probing with click chemistry, and discuss its recent applications in the field of quantitative biology. Furthermore, I discuss the capability, significance, and future of the chemical probing of proteins, with an emphasis on the use of click chemistry in the field of the quantitative biology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)