A simple method to determine trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitory activity

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11 Scopus citations


A colorimetric method for serine protease inhibition was modified using N-Acetyl-DL-Phenylalanine β-Naphthylester (APNE) as the substrate and o-Dianisidine tetrazotized (oD) as the dye. The reaction generated a single peak absorbing at 530 nm for both trypsin and chymotrypsin. Standard curves with increasing enzyme concentrations showed strong linearity. A standard curve for the serine protease inhibitor, Bowman-Birk Inhibitor (BBI), has been made using this modified method. The IC50 for 3 U of trypsin was found to be 33 ng and the IC50 obtained for 3 mU of chymotrypsin was 53 ng. A recombinant BBI (rBBI) gene was constructed, cloned and expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Evaluating samples of rBBI for protease inhibitory activity by the gel activity method failed to quantify the inhibitor amounts, due to high sensitivity for trypsin inhibition and low sensitivity for chymotrypsin inhibition. After development, the results could not be quantified, even to the extent that 1 μl of rBBI could not be detected with chymotrypsin inhibition. Therefore, a modified method for trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibition was used to evaluate the level of rBBI-expression for these same samples. The level of rBBI expression was calculated to be 50-56 ng/μl of media. These amounts fit into the range of values previously obtained by Western blot analysis. This modified method allows us to combine the sensitivity of the gel activity method with the quantification attributes of a Western blot. Thus, the modified method represents a significant improvement in speed, sensitivity and reproducibility over the gel activity method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 30 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


  • Chymotrypsin
  • Colorimetric method
  • Pichia pastoris
  • Serine protease
  • Trypsin

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