Research ResourceBIOSENSORS

Design and evaluation of engineered protein biosensors for live-cell imaging of EGFR phosphorylation

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Science Signaling  04 Jun 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 584, eaap7584
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aap7584

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Building better biosensors

The accuracy of a biosensor used to measure signaling events in live cells depends on both the specificity of the biosensor for its intended target and the absence of interference with the signaling pathway. Phosphotyrosine-binding SH2 domains have been used as biosensors for receptor tyrosine kinase activation. Tiruthani et al. showed that a paired SH2 domain biosensor for monitoring phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) at Tyr992 was not specific for EGFR and was not recruited to the membrane in a manner that accurately reflected the kinetics of EGFR signaling. Hence, the authors used two different mutagenesis and screening approaches to engineer new biosensors, mSH2 and SPY992, that exhibited greater specificity for EGFR Tyr992 and more accurately reported EGFR signaling kinetics. These approaches were extended to develop SPY1148, a biosensor for phosphorylation of EGFR at Tyr1148, and could be extended to generate phospho-specific biosensors for various targets.

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