Development of a fluorescence model for the determination of constants associated with binding, quenching, and FRET efficiency and development of an immobilized FRET-peptide sensor for metal ion detection

Casciato, Shelly Lynn, 1984-
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This thesis presents a modeling program to obtain equilibrium information for a fluorescent system. Determining accurate dissociation constants for equilibrium processes involving a fluorescent mechanism can prove to be quite challenging. Typically, titration curves and non-linear least squares fitting of the data using computer programs are employed to obtain such constants. However, these approaches only consider the total fluorescence signal and often ignore other energy transfer processes within the system. The current model considers the impact on fluorescence from equilibrium binding (viz., metal-ligand, ligand-substrate, etc.), quenching and resonance energy transfer. This model should provide more accurate binding constants as well as insights into other photonic processes. The equations developed for this model are discussed and are fit to experimental data from titrimetric experiments. Since the experimental data are generally in excess of the number of parameters that are needed to define the system, fitting is operated in an overdetermined mode and employs error minimization (either absolute or relative) to define goodness of fit. Examples of how changes in certain parameters affect the shape of the titrimetric curve are also presented. The detection of metal ions is very important, causing a need for the development of a metal ion sensor that provides selectivity, sensitivity, real-time in situ monitoring, and a flexible design. In order to be able to perform in situ monitoring of trace metal ions, FRET-pair labeled peptides were attached to a Tentagel[trademark] resin surface. After soaking in nonmetal and metal solutions (pH = 7.5), the resin beads gave an enhanced response in the presence of Hg²⁺ and Zn²⁺. Using a t-test, the signals of the beads that were soaked in a solution of each of these metal ions (and that of Cd²⁺) were determined to be significantly different from beads soaked in a solution without metal. However, the standard deviation between a set the beads was too large in order to differentiate a bead that was soaked in nonmetal solution versus one soaked in a metal containing solution.