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    Due to unique advantages such as short analysis time, high separation efficiency and sensitivity, easy automation, extremely low sample and reagent volume requirements, and the ability to utilize several detection methods, capillary electrophoresis (CE) is used as a high-efficiency separation technique, and has been developed as a powerful tool for on-line enzyme assays. On-line enzyme assays based on CE have been applied to almost all aspects of enzyme assays over the past two decades, including the evaluation of enzyme activities and kinetics, identification and characterization of enzyme inhibitors and activators, detection of enzyme substrates, investigation of enzyme-mediated metabolic pathways, and proteome analysis. One potential use of enzyme assays is in tracing enzymatic reactions from beginning to the end at high temporal resolution. Measurements of enzyme reactions at high temporal resolution can result in more accurate estimates of reaction mechanisms and reaction rate constants, which is vitally important for improving understanding of the functions of enzymes in metabolism and for identifying the potential use of enzymes in clinical diagnostics. Furthermore, high-throughput online enzyme analysis is of great importance for the analysis of enzyme reactions and enzyme inhibition reactions. The development of accurate, rapid and high-throughput enzyme inhibition screening methods is especially important for accelerating the development of new drugs. Electrophoretically mediated microanalysis (EMMA) and CE-integrated immobilized enzyme microreactor (IMER) are the two most used techniques for online CE enzyme assays. The EMMA technique utilizes different electrophoretic mobilities of enzymes and substrates to initiate reactions within the capillary and to separate the components of the reaction mixture for the final in-capillary quantification. In a CE-integrated IMER, the enzyme is bound to the capillary surface or to a suitable carrier attached to the capillary through physical adsorption, cross-linking, covalent bonding or other methods. The enzyme reactor is usually located at one end of the capillary; the enzyme-catalyzed reaction occurs when the substrates pass through the enzyme reactor and the substrates/products of the enzymatic reaction are separated and online detected by CE at the downstream end of the capillary. In both either techniques, the samples are usually introduced into the capillary by electrokinetic injection or by hydrodynamic injection. Because both injection methods require that the capillary inlet be physically moved from the sample container to the running buffer for CE analysis after each sample injection, it is unlikely that EMMA or microreactor techniques can be successfully used to perform sequential online analysis. Therefore, a CE sequence analysis technique based on rapid sequential injection has been developed as another powerful method for online enzyme analysis. Compared with the widely used electrokinetic and hydrodynamic injection methods used in traditional CE online enzyme analysis methods, rapid sequence injection methods can achieve sequential injection without any physical disturbance of the capillary inlet, allowing for the successful performance of online enzyme assays with high temporal resolution and at high throughput. A rapid, sequential, and automatic sample introduction system is an important part of online enzyme analysis based on CE sequence analysis. Several sequential injection methods such as optical-gating injection, flow-gated injection, two-dimension diffusion injection, flow injection and droplet microfluidics combined with CE have been developed to successfully perform online enzyme assays with high temporal resolution and high throughput. In this paper, we will review recently developed CE online enzyme assays and inhibition studies based on rapid sequential injection. We review the progress and applications of various sequential sample injection approaches that have been developed for sequential on-line CE analysis of enzyme reactions at high temporal resolution and high-throughput screening of enzyme inhibitors, including optical-gating injection, flow gated injection, two-dimension diffusion injection, flow injection and droplet microfluidics.


    Miaomiao Tian, Li Yang. Advances in on-line enzyme assays by sequence analysis-based capillary electrophoresis]. Se pu = Chinese journal of chromatography. 2020 Oct 08;38(10):1143-1153

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    PMID: 34213111

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