Luminescent Lanthanide Complexes as Probes for the Determination of Enzyme Activities


Address for correspondence: Michael Schäerling, Institute for Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany. Voice: +49-941-94340xx; fax: +49-941-9434066.


The determination of enzyme activities and the screening of enzyme regulators is a major task in clinical chemistry and the development of new drugs. A broad variety of enzymatic reactions is associated with the consumption or formation of small molecules like H2O2, ATP, pyrophosphate, or phosphate. Luminescent lanthanide complexes can be applied to monitor these enzymatic conversions and therefore can serve as probes for the determination of enzyme activities. The utility of this concept will be demonstrated by means of some selected examples including europium and terbium complexes. Accordingly, this new approach could be already implemented for the determination of glucose oxidase, catalase, and peroxidase activity. In particular, enzymes that catalyze phosphorylation or dephosphorylation reactions came to the fore of interest because of their high relevance as drug targets. These include (protein) kinases, adenylyl cyclases, phosphodiesterases, phosphatases, and ATPases. The development and design of fluorescent lanthanide complexes should lead to probes with optimized selectivity and response times that can be applied for high-throughput screening of enzyme inhibitors and for real-time monitoring of enzyme kinetics. In contrast to other assays for enzyme activity determination, this method does not require the use of radioactively labelled substrates or the accomplishment of rather complex and expensive immunoassays.