Assaying Bcr-Abl kinase activity and inhibition in whole cell extracts by phosphorylation of substrates immobilized on agarose beads

Ding Wu, Evan Nair-Gill, Dorie A. Sher, Laurie L. Parker, Jennifer M. Campbell, Mariah Siddiqui, Wendy Stock, Stephen J. Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


There is a current and increasing demand for simple, robust, nonradioactive assays of protein tyrosine kinase activity with applications for clinical diagnosis and high-throughput screening of potential molecularly targeted therapeutic agents. One significant challenge is to detect and measure the activity of specific kinases with key roles in cell signaling as an approach to distinguish normal cells from cancer cells and as a means of evaluating targeted drug efficacy and resistance in cancer cells. Here, we describe a method in which kinase substrates fused to glutathione-S-transferase and immobilized on glutathione agarose beads are phosphorylated, eluted, and then assayed to detect kinase activity. The activity of recombinant, purified c-Abl kinase or Bcr-Abl kinase in whole cell extracts can be detected with equivalent specificity, sensitivity, and reproducibility. Similarly, inhibition of recombinant c-Abl or Bcr-Abl in cells or cell extracts by imatinib mesylate and other Bcr-Abl targeted kinase inhibitors is readily assayed. This simple kinase assay is sufficiently straightforward and robust for use in clinical laboratories and is potentially adaptable to high-throughput assay formats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank B. Druker and J. Groffen for providing GST-CrkL constructs, N. Shah for providing Ba/F3 cells, B. Clarkson for providing PD 1666326 and PD 173955 inhibitors, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals for providing imatinib mesylate. Funding for this work was provided by NIH NCI IMAT R33 Grant CA10323 and the University of Chicago MRSEC. Laurie Parker is supported by the University of Chicago NIH T32 Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Biochemistry training grant. Stephen Kron is a Fletcher scholar of the Cancer Research Foundation and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society scholar.


  • Bcr-Abl
  • Imatinib mesylate
  • Kinase assay
  • Protein tyrosine kinase


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