A highly sensitive, mixed-phase assay for chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity in transfected cells

David A. Nielsen, Tsu Chung Chang, David J. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We describe a simple, rapid yet extremely sensitive assay for chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity in extracts from transfected eukaryotic cells. Using our modified reaction conditions and the mixed-phase assay, less than 0.000010 unit of CAT activity in transfected cells can be reliably detected. The mixed-phase assay is based on the inability of the polar [3H]acetyl-Coenzyme A (CoA) substrate to partition out of a urea containing aqueous phase into the nonpolar scintillation fluor, while the [3H]chloramphenicol reaction products partition into the toluene scintillation fluor and are quantitated by scintillation counting. The increased sensitivity of this assay is due to the optimization of the acetyl-CoA concentration, to a urea-containing aqueous phase which lowers the assay background, and to the use of extract blanks. The mixed-phase assay is simpler, is quantitative, uses less costly substrates, and is far more sensitive than the most widely used CAT assays, which require solvent extraction followed by thin-layer chromatography to separate the unreacted substrate from product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Volume179
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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