Fluorophore-Conjugated Holliday Junctions for Generating Super-Bright Antibodies and Antibody Fragments

Zeyang Li, Christopher S. Theile, Guan-Yu Chen, Angelina M. Bilate, Joao N. Duarte, Ana M. Avalos, Tao Fang, Roberto Barberena, Shuji Sato, Hidde L. Ploegh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The site-specific modification of proteins with fluorophores can render a protein fluorescent without compromising its function. To avoid self-quenching from multiple fluorophores installed in close proximity, we used Holliday junctions to label proteins site-specifically. Holliday junctions enable modification with multiple fluorophores at reasonably precise spacing. We designed a Holliday junction with three of its four arms modified with a fluorophore of choice and the remaining arm equipped with a dibenzocyclooctyne substituent to render it reactive with an azide-modified fluorescent single-domain antibody fragment or an intact immunoglobulin produced in a sortase-catalyzed reaction. These fluorescent Holliday junctions improve fluorescence yields for both single-domain and full-sized antibodies without deleterious effects on antigen binding. Many hands make light work: Holliday junctions with fluorophores (red) conjugated at three of the four arms can be used to attach multiple fluorophores to both single-domain and full-sized antibodies (blue) with sufficient spacing to avoid self-quenching. The resulting conjugates showed improved fluorescence yields over those of singly fluorophore-conjugated antibodies without adversely affecting antigen binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11706-11710
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number40
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • DNA technology
  • Holiday junctions
  • antibodies
  • imaging agents
  • immunocytochemistry

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