Diseases such as cancer arise from systematical reconfiguration of interactions of exceedingly large numbers of proteins in cell signaling. The study of such complicated molecular mechanisms requires multiplexed detection of the inter-connected activities of several proteins in a disease-associated context. However, the existing methods are generally not well-equipped for this kind of application. Here a method for analyzing functionally linked protein activities is developed based on enzyme controlled pairing between complementary peptide helix strands, which simultaneously enables elaborate regulation of catalytic activity of the paired peptides. This method has been used to detect three different types of protein modification enzymes that participate in the modification of extracellular matrix and the formation of invasion front in tumour. In detecting breast cancer tissue samples using this method, up-regulated activity can be observed for two of the assessed enzymes, while the third enzyme is found to have a subtle fluctuation of activity. These results may point to the application of this method in evaluating prometastatic activities of proteins in tumour.
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