The Kulka resorcinol assay (Kulka, R.G., Biochemistry
, 542–548) for ketoses has been widely used in the literature but suffers from two major disadvantages: (a) it employs large amounts of potentially harmful reagents for a general biology laboratory environment; and (b) in its original formulation, it is unsuited for modern high-throughput applications. Here, we have developed a modified Kulka assay, which contains a safer formulation, employing approx. 5.4 M HCl in 250 µL aliquots, and is suitable for use in high-throughput systems biology or enzymatic applications. The modified assay has been tested extensively for the measurement of two ketoses—fructose (a common substrate in cell growth experiments) and 1-deoxy-d
-xylulose-5-phosphate (DXP), the product of the DXP-synthase reaction—which until now has only been assayable using time-consuming chromatographic methods or radioactivity. The Kulka microassay has a sensitivity of 0–250 nmol fructose or 0–500 nmol DXP. The assay is suitable for monitoring the consumption of fructose in bacterial growth experiments but is too insensitive to be used directly for the measurement of DXP in in vitro enzyme assays. However, we show that after concentration of the DXP-enzyme mix by butanol extraction, the Kulka resorcinol method can be used for enzyme assays.
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