Detection of protein-protein interactions in the live cell plasma membrane by quantifying prey redistribution upon bait micropatterning

Julian Weghuber, Mario Brameshuber, Stefan Sunzenauer, Manuela Lehner, Christian Paar, Thomas Haselgrübler, Michaela Schwarzenbacher, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Clemens Hesch, Wolfgang Paster, Bettina Heise, Alois Sonnleitner, Hannes Stockinger, Gerhard J Schütz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Our understanding of complex biological systems is based on high-quality proteomics tools for the parallelized detection and quantification of protein interactions. Current screening platforms, however, rely on measuring protein interactions in rather artificial systems, rendering the results difficult to confer on the in vivo situation. We describe here a detailed protocol for the design and the construction of a system to detect and quantify interactions between a fluorophore-labeled protein ("prey") and a membrane protein ("bait") in living cells. Cells are plated on micropatterned surfaces functionalized with antibodies to the bait exoplasmic domain. Bait-prey interactions are assayed via the redistribution of the fluorescent prey. The method is characterized by high sensitivity down to the level of single molecules, the capability to detect weak interactions, and high throughput, making it applicable as a screening tool. The proof-of-concept is demonstrated for the interaction between CD4, a major coreceptor in T-cell signaling, and Lck, a protein tyrosine kinase essential for early T-cell signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-151
Number of pages19
JournalMethods in Enzymology
Issue number472
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens/metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques/instrumentation
  • Cell Membrane/chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fluorescent Dyes/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck)/metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence/instrumentation
  • Protein Interaction Mapping/instrumentation
  • Surface Properties


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