A coupled assay measuring Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85C enzymatic activity

Julie Boucau, Aditya K. Sanki, Bradley J. Voss, Steven J. Sucheck, Donald R. Ronning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The prevalence of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) emphasizes the need for new antitubercular drugs. An essential component of the drug discovery process is the development of tools to rapidly screen potential drug libraries against important biological targets. Similarly to well-documented M. tb targets, the antigen 85 (Ag85) enzymes are involved in the maintenance of the mycobacterial cell wall. The products synthesized by these mycolyltransferases are the cell wall components most responsible for the reduced permeability of drugs into the bacterial cell, thereby linking Ag85 activity directly with drug resistance. This article presents the development of a high-throughput colorimetric assay suitable for direct monitoring of the enzymatic activity. The assay uses a synthetic substrate containing three chemical moieties: an octanoyl fatty acid, β-d-glucose, and p-nitrophenyl. In the context of the assay, Ag85 catalyzes the removal of the fatty acid and releases p-nitrophenyl-β-d-glucoside. The glucoside is hydrolyzed by β-glucosidase to release the p-nitrophenolate chromophore. With this assay, the KM and kcat values of Ag85C were determined to be 0.047 ± 0.008 mM and 0.062 s-1, respectively. In addition, the assay exhibits a Z′ value of 0.81 ± 0.06, indicating its suitability for high-throughput screening applications and drug development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acyltransfer
  • Antigen 85C
  • Drug screening
  • Enzyme-coupled assay
  • Mycolyltransferase
  • β-Glucosidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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