Many cellular processes depend on protein-protein interactions. The identification of molecules able to modulate protein contacts is of significant interest for drug discovery and chemical biology. Nevertheless, finding antagonists of protein interactions that work efficiently within the cell is a challenging task. Here, we describe the novel use of bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BIFC) to detect compounds that block the interaction of target proteins in vivo. In the BIFC method, each interaction partner is fused to a complementary fragment of a fluorescent protein and interactions are detected by fluorescence restoration after reporter reassembly. Here, we demonstrate that the inhibition of specific intracellular protein interactions results in a concomitant decrease in fluorescence emission. We also show that integration of BIFC with flow cytometry might provide an effective means to detect interaction modulators by directly reading out changes in the reporter signal. The in vivo application of this approach is illustrated through monitoring the inhibition of the interaction between the Escherichia coli Hsp70 chaperone and a short peptidic substrate by pyrrhocoricin-derived antibacterial peptides. © 2008 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
- Escherichia coli
- Protein-protein interaction