[Fluorescence Assay for the Detection of apurinic/apyrimidinic Endonuclease 1 (APE1) Activity in Human Blood Samples]

J Y Wang, M P Zhao

Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2019 Jun 18;51(3):487-492.

PMID: 31209420



To develop a simple, sensitive and robust method for rapid detection of human apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 (APE1) in various biological samples.


An abasic site-containing DNA probe with a sequence of 5'-T*T*C*C*T*C*T(ROX)AGAGXCGTT (BHQ2)C*A*C*T*G*T*AGTTTATA*C*A*G*T*GAATCTCTCTAG*T*C*T-3' ["X" represents AP site; The phosphorothioated nucleotides (at 3' side) are indicated with an asterisk after the nucleotides; ROX is 6-carboxy-X-rhodamine and BHQ2 is Black Hole quencher 2] was synthesized and used for the detection. In the presence of APE1, the DNA probe could be specifically hydrolyzed by the enzyme and release the fluorophore, resulting in strong fluorescence emission. The activity of APE1 was determined according to the rate of increase in fluorescence intensity. In this work, we modified the reaction buffer and significantly improved the performance of the method. Moreover, the method was further extended to measure the contents of APE1 in the protein extraction from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) extracted from human whole blood samples by density gradient centrifugation. The assay was also applied to measure the activity of APE1 in human serum samples.


With a new reaction buffer composed of 0.04% (V/V) Triton X-100, 50 mmol/L KAc, 20 mmol/L Tris-Ac, 10 mmol/L Mg(Ac)2 and 1 mmol/L dithiothreitol (DTT), the method achieved a detection limit of 0.005 U/mL (3 pg/mL) and a linear response ranging from 6 pg/mL to 1.2 ng/mL. The contents of APE1 in the protein extraction from PBMCs of eight blood samples were measured to be in the range from 0.061 to 0.40 ng/μg protein, with an average of 0.16 ng/μg protein. The recovery was 98%±5% (n=3). The levels of APE1 in the sera from 102 normal individuals (51 male and 51 female, age range: 59-75 years) were observed to be from 0.13 to 0.34 ng/mL, with a recovery of 96%±15% (n=3).


The new fluorescence assay was simple, rapid and sensitive, providing a practical tool to measure the activity of APE1 in serum samples and cell extracts. It also holds great potential in measurement of APE1 in many other biological samples for clinical test and laboratory research.

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