Two-color labeling of temporally defined protein populations in mammalian cells

Kimberly E. Beatty, David A. Tirrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The proteome undergoes complex changes in response to disease, drug treatment, and normal cellular signaling processes. Characterization of such changes requires methods for time-resolved protein identification and imaging. Here, we describe the application of two reactive methionine (Met) analogues, azidohomoalanine (Aha) and homopropargylglycine (Hpg), to label two protein populations in fixed cells. Reactive lissamine rhodamine (LR), 7-dimethylaminocoumarin (DMAC), and bodipy-630 (BDPY) dyes were prepared and examined for use in selective dye-labeling of newly synthesized proteins in Rat-1 fibroblasts. The LR and DMAC, but not BDPY, fluorophores were found to enable selective, efficient labeling of subsets of the proteome; cells labeled with Aha and Hpg exhibited fluorescence emission three- to sevenfold more intense than that of control cells treated with Met. We also examined simultaneous and sequential pulse-labeling of cells with Aha and Hpg. After pulse-labeling, cells were treated with reactive LR and DMAC dyes, and labeled cells were imaged by fluorescence microscopy and analyzed by flow cytometry. The results of these studies demonstrate that amino acid labeling can be used to achieve selective two-color imaging of temporally defined protein populations in mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5995-5999
Number of pages5
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkyne
  • Azide
  • Click chemistry
  • Fluorescence
  • Microscopy
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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