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cAMP Difference Detector In Situ (cADDis) is a novel biosensor that allows for the continuous measurement of cAMP levels in living cells. The biosensor is created from a circularly permuted fluorescent protein linked to the hinge region of Epac2. This creates a single fluorophore biosensor that displays either increased or decreased fluorescence upon binding of cAMP. The biosensor exists in red and green upward versions, as well as green downward versions, and several red and green versions targeted to subcellular locations. To illustrate the effectiveness of the biosensor, the green downward version, which decreases in fluorescence upon cAMP binding, was used. Two protocols using this sensor are demonstrated: one utilizing a 96-well plate reading spectrophotometer compatible with high-throughput screening and another utilizing single-cell imaging on a fluorescent microscope. On the plate reader, HEK-293 cells cultured in 96-well plates were stimulated with 10 µM forskolin or 10 nM isoproterenol, which induced rapid and large decreases in fluorescence in the green downward version. The biosensor was used to measure cAMP levels in individual human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells monitored under a fluorescent microscope. The green downward biosensor displayed similar responses to populations of cells when stimulated with forskolin or isoproterenol. This single-cell assay allows visualization of the biosensor location at 20x and 40x magnification. Thus, this cAMP biosensor is sensitive and flexible, allowing real-time measurement of cAMP in both immortalized and primary cells, and with single cells or populations of cells. These attributes make cADDis a valuable tool for studying cAMP signaling dynamics in living cells.


This article was originally published in JoVE, volume 205, in 2024.



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