Effects of Linker Flexibility and Conformational Changes of IP3 Receptor on Split Luciferase Complementation Assay

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Background: IP3-induced Ca2+ release, mediated by IP3R, is one of the most momentous cellular signaling mechanisms that regulate in a wide variety of essential cellular functions. Involvement of disrupted IP3 signaling pathways in numerous pathophysiology conditions is implicated to find the best methods for its measurement. Hence, several different biosensors have developed to monitor temporal changes of IP3 by using the IP3-binding domain of IP3 receptors.
Objectives: Based on a previous study, we developed and characterized a series of bioluminescent biosensors using the human type-II IP3 receptor ligand binding domain (residues 1–604), named LAIRE (luminescent analyzer for IP3 receptor element) to study the effect of flexible and rigid linkers on the luminescence intensity of split luciferase. The effect of a mutation in IP3 binding residues and suppressor domain in the IP3 binding domain on luciferase complementary assay is also investigated.
Materials and Methods: In the present study, first IP3-binding domain (residues 1-604) of IP3-receptor type 2 (LAIRE) was fused between complementary non-functional fragments of firefly luciferase and then the rigid linker sequence (LLRAIEAQQHLL), selected by ProDA database, introduced between Nluc and ligand binding domain and compared with that of the flexible linker ((GGGGS)2) in LAIRE chimera. The IP3-insensitive mutant of the biosensor was constructed using the Stratagene QuikChange® procedure. In order to the analysis of the dynamical movements of selected structures in the large-scale, coarse-graining method of molecular dynamics simulation (1μs) was applied.
Results: As expected, the flexible linker brings two inactive fragments of luciferase together relative to the rigid linker and leads to complementation of luciferase activity, which is detected using luciferin. However, this conformational flexibility in linker increases background to noise ratio and attenuates fold induction.
Conclusions: It seems that the ligand binding properties of IP3 binding core make it more suitable for the design of biosensor than the ligand binding domain.


Main Subjects