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1.  Targeting microspheres and cells to polyethylene glycol-modified biological surfaces 
It has previously been demonstrated that damaged arterial tissue can be acutely modified with protein-reactive polyethylene glycol (PEG) to block undesirable platelet deposition. This concept might be expanded by employing PEG-biotin and its strong interaction with avidin for site-specific targeted delivery. Toward this end, cultured endothelial cells (ECs) were surface modified with PEG-biotin and the available biotin was quantified with flow cytometry. NeutrAvidin-coated microspheres and PEG-biotin modified ECs with NeutrAvidin as a bridging molecule were delivered under arterial shear stress to PEG-biotin modified ECs on a coverslip as well as scrape-damaged bovine carotid arteries. After incubation with a 10 mM solution for 1 min, 8 × 107 PEG-biotin molecules/EC were found and persisted for up to 120 h. Perfused microspheres adhered to NHS-PEG-biotin treated bovine carotid arteries with 60 ± 16 microspheres/mm2 versus 11 ± 4 microspheres/mm2 for control arteries (p < 0.015). Similarly, 22 ± 5 targeted ECs/mm2 adhered to NHS-PEG-biotin treated bovine carotid arteries versus 6 ± 2 ECs/mm2 for control arteries (p < 0.01). The targeting strategy demonstrated here might ultimately find application for drug delivery, gene therapy, or cell therapy where localization to specific labeled vascular regions is desired following catheter-based or surgical procedures.
PMCID: PMC2873022  PMID: 17177289
polyethylene glycol; targeted delivery; surface modification; biotin; avidin
2.  Development of Robust and Standardized Cantilever Sensors Based on Biotin/Neutravidin Coupling for Antibody Detection 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2013;13(4):5273-5285.
A cantilever-based protein biosensor has been developed providing a customizable multilayer platform for the detection of antibodies. It consists of a biotin-terminated PEG layer pre-functionalized on the gold-coated cantilever surface, onto which NeutrAvidin is adsorbed through biotin/NeutrAvidin specific binding. NeutrAvidin is used as a bridge layer between the biotin-coated surface and the biotinylated biomolecules, such as biotinylated bovine serum albumin (biotinylated BSA), forming a multilayer sensor for direct antibody capture. The cantilever biosensor has been successfully applied to the detection of mouse anti-BSA (m-IgG) and sheep anti-BSA(s-IgG) antibodies. As expected, the average differential surface stress signals of about 5.7 ± 0.8 × 10−3 N/m are very similar for BSA/m-IgG and BSA/s-IgG binding, i.e., they are independent of the origin of the antibody. A statistic evaluation of 112 response curves confirms that the multilayer protein cantilever biosensor shows high reproducibility. As a control test, a biotinylated maltose binding protein was used for detecting specificity of IgG, the result shows a signal of bBSA layer in response to antibody is 5.8 × 10−3 N/m compared to bMBP. The pre-functionalized biotin/PEG cantilever surface is found to show a long shelf-life of at least 40 days and retains its responsivity of above 70% of the signal when stored in PBS buffer at 4 °C. The protein cantilever biosensor represents a rapid, label-free, sensitive and reliable detection technique for a real-time protein assay.
PMCID: PMC3673136  PMID: 23604028
cantilever; biosensor; protein; multilayer; NeutrAvidin; biotin
3.  Immunoliposome-PCR: a generic ultrasensitive quantitative antigen detection system 
The accurate quantification of antigens at low concentrations over a wide dynamic range is needed for identifying biomarkers associated with disease and detecting protein interactions in high-throughput microarrays used in proteomics. Here we report the development of an ultrasensitive quantitative assay format called immunoliposome polymerase chain reaction (ILPCR) that fulfills these requirements. This method uses a liposome, with reporter DNA encapsulated inside and biotin-labeled polyethylene glycol (PEG) phospholipid conjugates incorporated into the outer surface of the liposome, as a detection reagent. The antigenic target is immobilized in the well of a microplate by a capture antibody and the liposome detection reagent is then coupled to a biotin-labeled second antibody through a NeutrAvidin bridge. The liposome is ruptured to release the reporter DNA, which serves as a surrogate to quantify the protein target using real-time PCR.
A liposome detection reagent was prepared, which consisted of a population of liposomes ~120 nm in diameter with each liposome possessing ~800 accessible biotin receptors and ~220 encapsulated reporters. This liposome detection reagent was used in an assay to quantify the concentration of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in human serum. This ILPCR assay exhibited a linear dose–response curve from 10-10 M to 10-16 M CEA. Within this range the assay coefficient of variance was <6 % for repeatability and <2 % for reproducibility. The assay detection limit was 13 fg/mL, which is 1,500-times more sensitive than current clinical assays for CEA. An ILPCR assay to quantify HIV-1 p24 core protein in buffer was also developed.
The ILPCR assay has several advantages over other immuno-PCR methods. The reporter DNA and biotin-labeled PEG phospholipids spontaneously incorporate into the liposomes as they form, simplifying preparation of the detection reagent. Encapsulation of the reporter inside the liposomes allows nonspecific DNA in the assay medium to be degraded with DNase I prior to quantification of the encapsulated reporter by PCR, which reduces false-positive results and improves quantitative accuracy. The ability to encapsulate multiple reporters per liposome also helps overcome the effect of polymerase inhibitors present in biological specimens. Finally, the biotin-labeled liposome detection reagent can be coupled through a NeutrAvidin bridge to a multitude of biotin-labeled probes, making ILPCR a highly generic assay system.
PMCID: PMC3466442  PMID: 22726242
4.  Multiplex Microsphere Immunoassays for the Detection of IgM and IgG to Arboviral Diseases 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75670.
Serodiagnosis of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) at the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, CDC, employs a combination of individual enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and microsphere immunoassays (MIAs) to test for IgM and IgG, followed by confirmatory plaque-reduction neutralization tests. Based upon the geographic origin of a sample, it may be tested concurrently for multiple arboviruses, which can be a cumbersome task. The advent of multiplexing represents an opportunity to streamline these types of assays; however, because serologic cross-reactivity of the arboviral antigens often confounds results, it is of interest to employ data analysis methods that address this issue. Here, we constructed 13-virus multiplexed IgM and IgG MIAs that included internal and external controls, based upon the Luminex platform. Results from samples tested using these methods were analyzed using 8 different statistical schemes to identify the best way to classify the data. Geographic batteries were also devised to serve as a more practical diagnostic format, and further samples were tested using the abbreviated multiplexes. Comparative error rates for the classification schemes identified a specific boosting method based on logistic regression “Logitboost” as the classification method of choice. When the data from all samples tested were combined into one set, error rates from the multiplex IgM and IgG MIAs were <5% for all geographic batteries. This work represents both the most comprehensive, validated multiplexing method for arboviruses to date, and also the most systematic attempt to determine the most useful classification method for use with these types of serologic tests.
PMCID: PMC3783417  PMID: 24086608
5.  Fluorescent marker for direct detection of specific dsDNA sequences 
Analytical chemistry  2009;81(24):10049-10054.
We have created a fluorescent marker using a mutant EcoRI restriction endonuclease (K249C) that enables prolonged, direct visualization of specific sequences on genomic lengths of double-stranded (ds) DNA. The marker consists of a biotinylated enzyme, attached through the biotin-avidin interaction to a fluorescent nanosphere. Control over biotin position with respect to the enzyme’s binding pocket is achieved by biotinylating the mutant EcoRI at the mutation site. Biotinylated enzyme is incubated with dsDNA and NeutrAvidin-coated, fluorescent nanospheres under conditions that allow enzyme binding but prevent cleavage. Marker-laden DNA is then fluorescently stained and stretched on polylysine-coated glass slides so that the positions of the bound markers along individual DNA molecules can be measured. We demonstrate the marker’s ability to bind specifically to its target sequence using both bulk gel-shift assays and single-molecule methods.
PMCID: PMC2811260  PMID: 19908852
6.  Duplex Microsphere-Based Immunoassay for Detection of Anti-West Nile Virus and Anti-St. Louis Encephalitis Virus Immunoglobulin M Antibodies 
West Nile (WN) virus was introduced into the United States in 1999, when the first human cases of WN fever and encephalitis appeared in New York City. From there, the virus has spread throughout North America, in some areas cocirculating with the related flavivirus St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus. Public health laboratories currently use an immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA) as a primary test for human serodiagnosis, followed by a confirmatory plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT). The MAC-ELISAs take 2 days to perform; therefore there is a need for a more rapid test. This report describes a duplex microsphere-based immunoassay (MIA) that shortens the test processing time to about 4.5 h. The assay employs two sets of microspheres coupled to a single flavivirus group-reactive antibody, which are used to capture the WN and SLE viral antigens independently. Immunoglobulin G-depleted serum is concurrently assayed for IgM antibodies to each of the viral antigens. The results are standardized and classified by using quadratic discriminant analysis so that a single result, anti-WN IgM-positive, anti-SLE IgM-positive, negative, or nonspecific, can be determined. The duplex MIA results compared favorably to those of the plaque-reduction neutralization test and MAC-ELISA. The assay proved to be reproducible, produced accurate classifications as to the infecting virus, and was specific.
PMCID: PMC1112082  PMID: 15879016
7.  Development of a Fluorescent-Microsphere Immunoassay for Detection of Antibodies Specific to Equine Arteritis Virus and Comparison with the Virus Neutralization Test▿  
The development and validation of a microsphere immunoassay (MIA) to detect equine antibodies to the major structural proteins of equine arteritis virus (EAV) are described. The assay development process was based on the cloning and expression of genes for full-length individual major structural proteins (GP5 amino acids 1 to 255 [GP51-255], M1-162, and N1-110), as well as partial sequences of these structural proteins (GP51-116, GP575-112, GP555-98, M88-162, and N1-69) that constituted putative antigenic regions. Purified recombinant viral proteins expressed in Escherichia coli were covalently bound to fluorescent polystyrene microspheres and analyzed with the Luminex xMap 100 instrument. Of the eight recombinant proteins, the highest concordance with the virus neutralization test (VNT) results was obtained with the partial GP555-98 protein. The MIA was validated by testing a total of 2,500 equine serum samples previously characterized by the VNT. With the use of an optimal median fluorescence intensity cutoff value of 992, the sensitivity and specificity of the assay were 92.6% and 92.9%, respectively. The GP555-98 MIA and VNT outcomes correlated significantly (r = 0.84; P < 0.0001). Although the GP555-98 MIA is less sensitive than the standard VNT, it has the potential to provide a rapid, convenient, and more economical test for screening equine sera for the presence of antibodies to EAV, with the VNT then being used as a confirmatory assay.
PMCID: PMC2223870  PMID: 18032597
8.  Fast, Antigen-Saving Multiplex Immunoassay To Determine Levels and Avidity of Mouse Serum Antibodies to Pertussis, Diphtheria, and Tetanus Antigens ▿ † 
To enhance preclinical evaluation of serological immune responses to the individual diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) components of DTP combination vaccines, a fast hexavalent bead-based method was developed. This multiplex immunoassay (MIA) can simultaneously determine levels of specific mouse serum IgG antibodies to P antigens P.69 pertactin (P.69 Prn), filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), pertussis toxin (Ptx), and combined fimbria type 2 and 3 antigens (Fim2/3) and to diphtheria toxin (Dtx) and tetanus toxin (TT) in a single well. The mouse DTP MIA was shown to be specific and sensitive and to correlate with the six single in-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for all antigens. Moreover, the MIA was expanded to include avidity measurements of DTP antigens in a multivalent manner. The sensitivities of the mouse DTP avidity MIA per antigen were comparable to those of the six individual in-house avidity ELISAs, and good correlations between IgG concentrations obtained by both methods for all antigens tested were shown. The regular and avidity mouse DTP MIAs were reproducible, with good intra- and interassay coefficients of variability (CV) for all antigens. Finally, the usefulness of the assay was demonstrated in a longitudinal study of the development and avidity maturation of specific IgG antibodies in mice having received different DTP vaccines. We conclude that the hexaplex mouse DTP MIA is a specific, sensitive, and high-throughput alternative for ELISA to investigate the quantity and quality of serological responses to DTP antigens in preclinical vaccine studies.
PMCID: PMC3122557  PMID: 21325488
9.  Element-tagged immunoassay with ICP-MS detection: evaluation and comparison to conventional immunoassays 
Journal of immunological methods  2008;336(1):56-63.
We have investigated the possibility of using element-tagged antibodies for protein detection and quantification in microplate format using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), and compared the results to conventional immunoassays, such as Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and Western blotting. The technique was further employed to detect low levels and measure DNA-binding activity of transcription factor p53 in leukemia cell lysates through its interaction with immobilized oligonucleotides and recognition by element-tagged antibodies. The advantages of ICP-MS detection for routine performance of immunoassays include increased sensitivity, wide dynamic range, minimal interference from complex matrices, and high throughput. Our approach advances the ICP-MS technology and demonstrates its applicability to proteomic studies through the use of antibodies directly labeled with polymer tags bearing multiple atoms of lanthanides. Development of this novel methodology will enable fast and quantitative identification of multiple analytes in a single well.
PMCID: PMC2583136  PMID: 18456275
ELISA; ICP-MS; element-tagged antibody; lanthanides; growth factors; transcription factor p53
10.  Surface Presentation of Bioactive Ligands in a Non-Adhesive Background using DOPA-Tethered Biotinylated Poly(Ethylene Glycol) 
We have developed surfaces for the selective presentation of biotinylated peptides and proteins in a background that resists nonspecific protein adsorption; controlled amounts of biotinylated polyethylene glycol (MW 3400; PEG3400) anchored to titanium-dioxide-coated surfaces via an adhesive tri-peptide sequence of l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA3-PEG3400-biotin; DPB) were incorporated within a DOPA3-PEG2000 background. Using optical waveguide lightmode spectroscopy, we found that the amounts of sequentially adsorbed NeutrAvidin and singly-biotinylated molecules increased proportionally with the amount of DPB in the surface. Biotinylated peptides (MW ca. 2000) were able to fill all three of the remaining avidin-binding sites, while only one molecule of biotinylated PEG5000 or stem cell factor bound to each avidin. The resulting biotin-avidin-biotin linkages were stable for prolonged periods under continuous perfusion, even in the presence of excess free biotin. Hematopoietic M07e cells bound to immobilized peptide ligands for α5β1 (cyclic RGD) and α4β1 (cylic LDV) integrins in a DPB-dose-dependent manner, with near-maximal binding to cylic LDV for surfaces containing 1% DPB. Multiple ligands were adsorbed in a controlled manner by incubating NeutrAvidin with the respective ligands in the desired molar ratio and then adding the resulting complexes to DPB-containing surfaces. Cell adhesion to surfaces containing both cylic LDV and cyclic RGD increased in an additive manner compared to that for the individual ligands. The bioactivity of adsorbed biotinylated stem cell factor was retained, as demonstrated by DPB-dose-dependent M07e cell adhesion and ERK1/2 activation.
PMCID: PMC2547987  PMID: 17803326
11.  Protein and Small Molecule Recognition Properties of Deep Cavitands in a Supported Lipid Membrane Determined by Calcination-Enhanced SPR Spectroscopy 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2010;132(30):10383-10390.
This report details the incorporation of a water-soluble deep cavitand into a membrane bilayer assembled onto a nanoglassified surface for study of molecular recognition in a membrane-mimicking setting. The cavitand retains its host properties, and real-time analysis of the host:guest properties of the membrane:cavitand complex via surface plasmon resonance and fluorescence microscopy is described. The host shows selectivity for choline-derived substrates, and no competitive incorporation of substrate is observed in the membrane bilayer. A variety of trimethylammonium-derived substrates are suitable guests, displaying binding affinities in a millimolar range. The membrane:cavitand:guest complexes can be subsequently used to capture NeutrAvidin protein at the membrane surface if a biotin-derived guest molecule is used. The surface coverage of NeutrAvidin is affected by the spacer used to derivatize the biotin. Increased distance from the bilayer allows a higher concentration of protein to be immobilized, suggesting a diminishing detrimental steric effect when the binding event is shifted away from the surface.
PMCID: PMC2945708  PMID: 20617792
12.  Combinatorial Chemoenzymatic Synthesis and High-throughput Screening of Sialosides 
ACS chemical biology  2008;3(9):567-576.
Although the vital roles of sialic acid-containing structures in biomolecular recognition are well documented, limited information is available on how sialic acid structural modifications, sialyl linkages, and the underlying glycan structures affect the binding or the activity of sialic acid-recognizing proteins and related downstream biological processes. A novel combinatorial chemoenzymatic method has been developed for the highly efficient synthesis of biotinylated sialosides containing different sialic acid structures and different underlying glycans in 96-well plates from biotinylated sialyltransferase acceptors and sialic acid precursors. By transferring the reaction mixtures to NeutrAvidin-coated plates and assaying for the yields of enzymatic reactions using lectins recognizing sialyltransferase acceptors but not the sialylated products, the biotinylated sialoside products can be directly used, without purification, for high-throughput screening to quickly identify the ligand specificity of sialic acid-binding proteins. For a proof-of-principle experiment, 72 biotinylated α2,6-linked sialosides were synthesized in 96-well plates from 4 biotinylated sialyltransferase acceptors and 18 sialic acid precursors using a one-pot three-enzyme system. High-throughput screening assays performed in NeutrAvidin-coated microtiter plates show that while Sambucus nigra Lectin binds to α2,6-linked sialosides with high promiscuity, human Siglec-2 (CD22) is highly selective for a number of sialic acid structures and the underlying glycans in its sialoside ligands.
PMCID: PMC2588434  PMID: 18729452
13.  Validation of a Microsphere-Based Immunoassay for Detection of Anti-West Nile Virus and Anti-St. Louis Encephalitis Virus Immunoglobulin M Antibodies▿  
A microsphere-based immunoassay (MIA) was previously developed that is capable of determining the presence of anti-West Nile (WN) virus or anti-St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies in human serum or cerebrospinal fluid. The original data set on which the classification rules were based comprised 491 serum specimens obtained from the serum bank at the Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DVBID). The classification rules were used to provide a result and to determine whether confirmatory testing was necessary for a given sample. A validation study was coordinated between the DVBID and five state health laboratories to determine (i) the reproducibility of the test between different laboratories, (ii) the correlation between the IgM-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA) and the MIA, and (iii) whether the initial nonspecific parameters could be refined to reduce the volume of confirmatory testing. Laboratorians were trained in the method, and reagents and data analysis software developed at the DVBID were shipped to each validating laboratory. Validating laboratories performed tests on approximately 200 samples obtained from their individual states, the collections of which comprised approximately equal numbers of WN virus-positive and -negative samples, as determined by MAC-ELISA. In addition, 377 samples submitted to the DVBID for arbovirus testing were analyzed using the MIA and MAC-ELISA at the DVBID only. For the specimens tested at both the state and the DVBID laboratories, a correlation of results indicated that the technology is readily transferable between laboratories. The detection of IgM antibodies to WN virus was more consistent than detection of IgM antibodies to SLE virus. Some changes were made to the analysis software that resulted in an improved accuracy of diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC2043310  PMID: 17609393
14.  Simultaneous detection of antibodies to cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus by using flow cytometry and a microsphere-based fluorescence immunoassay. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1988;26(10):1957-1961.
A sensitive assay for the simultaneous detection of anti-cytomegalovirus and anti-herpes simplex virus antibodies was developed. Two different sizes of polystyrene microspheres were coated with purified viral antigens. Human antiviral antibodies were detected with a biotin-streptavidin amplification procedure with phycoerythrin as the fluorescent label. Microsphere-associated fluorescence was quantitated with a flow cytometer. Sixteen percent of samples initially scored as seronegative for cytomegalovirus and 35% of samples initially scored as seronegative for herpes simplex virus by conventional assays were clearly found positive by the microsphere technique. This flow cytometric assay can simultaneously detect several specific antibodies at levels which are below the sensitivity of standard assays. The dynamic range of this assay is at least sixfold greater than that of enzyme immunoassays. This technique is amenable to numerous serologic assays and could greatly expand the clinical laboratory applications of flow cytometry.
PMCID: PMC266797  PMID: 2846633
15.  Acoustically-Active Microbubbles Conjugated to Liposomes: Characterization of a Proposed Drug Delivery Vehicle 
A new acoustically-active delivery vehicle was developed by conjugating liposomes and microbubbles, using the high affinity interaction between avidin and biotin. Binding between microbubbles and liposomes each containing 5% DSPE-PEG2kBiotin was highly dependent on avidin concentration and observed above an avidin concentration of 10 nM. With an optimized avidin and liposome concentration, we measured and calculated as high as 1000 to 10,000 liposomes with average diameters of 200 and 100 nm, respectively, attached to each microbubble. Replacing avidin with neutravidin resulted in 3-fold higher binding, approaching the calculated saturation level. High-speed photography of this new drug delivery vehicle demonstrated that the liposome-bearing microbubbles oscillate in response to an acoustic pulse similar to microbubble contrast agents. Additionally, microbubbles carrying liposomes could be spatially concentrated on a monolayer of PC-3 cells at the focal point of ultrasound beam. As a result of cell-vehicle contact, the liposomes fused with the cells and internalization of NBD-cholesterol occurred shortly after incubation at 37°C, with internalization of NBD-cholesterol substantially enhanced in the acoustic focus.
PMCID: PMC2662343  PMID: 17300849
Microbubble; Liposome; Ultrasound Radiation Forces; Delivery Vehicle
16.  Surface Plasmon Resonance Study of Protein-Carbohydrate Interactions using Biotinylated Sialosides 
Analytical chemistry  2008;80(11):4007-4013.
Lectins are carbohydrate binding proteins found in plants, animals and microorganisms. They serve as important models for understanding protein-carbohydrate interactions at the molecular level. We report here the fabrication of a novel sensing interface of biotinylated sialosides to probe lectin-carbohydrate interactions using surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. The attachment of carbohydrates to the surface using biotin-NeutrAvidin interactions and the implementation of an inert hydrophilic hexaethylene glycol spacer between the biotin and the carbohydrate result in a well defined interface, enabling desired orientational flexibility and enhanced access of binding partners. The specificity and sensitivity of lectin binding were characterized using Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA) and other lectins including Maackia amurensis lectin (MAL), Concanavalin A (Con A), and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). The results indicate that α2,6-linked sialosides exhibit high binding affinity to SNA, while alteration in sialyl linkage and terminal sialic acid structure compromises the affinity by a varied degree. Quantitative analysis yields an association constant (Ka) of 1.29 × 106 M−1 for SNA binding to Neu5Aca2,6-LHEB and a dissociation constant (KD) of 777 ± 93 nM. A linear relationship was obtained in the 10–100 μg/mL range with LOD of ~50 nM. Weak interactions with MAL, Con A and WGA were also quantified. The control experiment with bovine serum albumin indicates that nonspecific interaction on this surface is insignificant over the concentration range studied. Multiple experiments can be performed on the same substrate using a glycine stripping buffer, which selectively regenerates the surface without damaging the sialoside or the biotin-NeutrAvidin interface. This surface design retains a high degree of native affinity for the carbohydrate motifs, allowing distinction of sialyl linkages and investigation pertaining to the effect of functional group on binding efficiency. It could be easily modified to identify and quantify binding patterns of any low-affinity biologically relevant systems, opening new avenues for probing carbohydrate-protein interactions in real-time.
PMCID: PMC2586005  PMID: 18461973
17.  Regulation of Integrin Adhesions by Varying the Density of Substrate-Bound Epidermal Growth Factor 
Biointerphases  2012;7(0):23.
Substrates coated with specific bioactive ligands are important for tissue engineering, enabling the local presentation of extracellular stimulants at controlled positions and densities. In this study, we examined the cross-talk between integrin and epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptors following their interaction with surface-immobilized Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) and EGF ligands, respectively. Surfaces of glass coverslips, modified with biotinylated silane-polyethylene glycol, were functionalized by either biotinylated RGD or EGF (or both) via the biotin–NeutrAvidin interaction. Fluorescent labeling of the adhering A431 epidermoid carcinoma cells for zyxin or actin indicated that EGF had a dual effect on focal adhesions (FA) and stress fibers: at low concentrations (0.1; 1 ng/ml), it stimulated their growth; whereas at higher concentrations, on surfaces with low to intermediate RGD densities, it induced their disassembly, leading to cell detachment. The EGF-dependent dissociation of FAs was, however, attenuated on higher RGD density surfaces. Simultaneous stimulation by both immobilized RGD and EGF suggest a strong synergy between integrin and EGFR signaling, in FA induction and cell spreading. A critical threshold level of EGF was required to induce significant variation in cell adhesion; beyond this critical density, the immobilized molecule had a considerably stronger effect on cell adhesion than did soluble EGF. The mechanisms underlying this synergy between the adhesion ligand and EGF are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3939687  PMID: 22589066
18.  Development and Validation of a Multiplex Microsphere-Based Assay for Detection of Domestic Cat (Felis catus) Cytokines ▿  
Cytokines are essential signaling molecules that mediate the innate immune response, and therefore their presence can be of diagnostic, prognostic, and pathogenic significance. Microsphere-based immunoassays allow rapid and accurate evaluation of cytokine levels in several species, including humans, dogs, and mice; however, technology to evaluate domestic cat (Felis catus) cytokines has been limited to single-analyte enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). Microsphere-based immunoassays provide an attractive alternative technology for detecting and quantifying multiple analytes in a single assay using as little as 50 μl of sample. We describe the development and validation of a microsphere-based assay for three commonly analyzed domestic cat cytokines (gamma interferon, interleukin-10, and interleukin-12/interleukin-23 p40) using reagents from commercially available ELISAs. The assay was optimized for capture and detection antibody concentrations, streptavidin-phycoerythrin concentration, and number of microspheres. The validated lower and upper quantitation limits were 31 and 1,000 pg/ml for gamma interferon, 63 and 2,000 pg/ml for interleukin-10, and 39 and 625 pg/ml for interleukin-12/interleukin-23 p40. Cytokine concentrations in peripheral blood mononuclear cell supernatants were measured, and results obtained by the microsphere assay were correlated with values obtained with commercially available ELISA kits. This technology is a convenient and reproducible assay to evaluate domestic cat cytokine responses elicited by a variety of diseases.
PMCID: PMC3067371  PMID: 21209158
19.  Toward detection of DNA-bound proteins using solid-state nanopores: insights from computer simulations 
Electrophoresis  2012;33(23):3466-3479.
Through all-atom molecular dynamics simulations, we explore the use of nanopores in thin synthetic membranes for detection and identification of DNA binding proteins. Reproducing the setup of a typical experiment, we simulate electric field-driven transport of DNA-bound proteins through nanopores smaller in diameter than the proteins. As model systems, we use restriction enzymes EcoRI and BamHI specifically and nonspecifically bound to a fragment of double-stranded DNA, and streptavidin and NeutrAvidin proteins bound to double- and single-stranded DNA via a biotin linker. Our simulations elucidate the molecular mechanics of nanopore-induced rupture of a protein–DNA complex, the effective force applied to the DNA-protein bond by the electrophoretic force in a nanopore, and the role of DNA-surface interactions in the rupture process. We evaluate the ability of the nanopore ionic current and the local electrostatic potential measured by an embedded electrode to report capture of DNA, capture of a DNA-bound protein, and rupture of the DNA-protein bond. We find that changes in the strain on double-stranded DNA can reveal the rupture of a protein–DNA complex by altering both the nanopore ionic current and the potential of the embedded electrode. Based on the results of our simulations, we suggest a new method for detection of DNA binding proteins that utilizes peeling of a nicked double strand under the electrophoretic force in a nanopore.
PMCID: PMC3789251  PMID: 23147918
Nanoscale pore; nucleic acids; molecular dynamics; transmembrane transport
20.  Development of a Solid-Phase Receptor-Based Assay for the Detection of Cyclic Imines Using a Microsphere-Flow Cytometry System 
Analytical chemistry  2013;85(4):2340-2347.
Biologically active macrocycles containing a cyclic imine were isolated for the first time from aquaculture sites in Nova Scotia, Canada, during the 1990s. These compounds display a “fast-acting” toxicity in the traditional mouse bioassay for lipophilic marine toxins. Our work aimed at developing receptor-based detection method for spirolides using a microsphere/flow cytometry Luminex system. For the assay two alternatives were considered as binding proteins, the Torpedo marmorata nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) and the Lymnaea stagnalis acetylcholine binding protein (Ls-AChBP). A receptor-based inhibition assay was developed using the immobilization of nAChR or Ls-AChBP on the surface of carboxylated microspheres and the competition of cyclic imines with biotin-α-bungarotoxin (α-BTX) for binding to these proteins. The amount of biotin-α-BTX bound to the surface of the microspheres was quantified using phycoerythrin (PE)-labeled streptavidin and the fluorescence was analyzed in a Luminex 200 system. AChBP and nAChR bound to 13-desmethyl spirolide C efficiently; however the cross-reactivity profile of the nAChR for spirolides and gymnodimine more closely matched the relative toxic potencies reported for these toxins. The nAChR was selected for further assay development. A simple sample preparation protocol consisting of an extraction with acetone yielded a final extract with no matrix interference on the nAChR/microsphere-based assay for mussels, scallops and clams. This cyclic imine detection method allowed the detection of 13-desmethyl spirolide C in the range of 10–6000 μg/kg of shellfish meat, displaying a higher sensitivity and wider dynamic range than other receptor-based assays previously published. This microsphere-based assay provides a rapid, sensitive and easily performed screening method that could be multiplexed for the simultaneous detection of several marine toxins.
PMCID: PMC3597463  PMID: 23343192
microsphere-based assay; marine phycotoxins; spirolide; gymnodimine; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; acetylcholine binding protein; α-bungarotoxin
21.  Multiplexed and Microparticle-based Analyses: Quantitative Tools for the Large-Scale Analysis of Biological Systems 
While the term flow cytometry refers to the measurement of cells, the approach of making sensitive multiparameter optical measurements in a flowing sample stream is a very general analytical approach. The past few years have seen an explosion in the application of flow cytometry technology for molecular analysis and measurements using micro-particles as solid supports. While microsphere-based molecular analyses using flow cytometry date back three decades, the need for highly parallel quantitative molecular measurements that has arisen from various genomic and proteomic advances has driven the development in particle encoding technology to enable highly multiplexed assays. Multiplexed particle-based immunoassays are now common place, and new assays to study genes, protein function, and molecular assembly. Numerous efforts are underway to extend the multiplexing capabilities of microparticle-based assays through new approaches to particle encoding and analyte reporting. The impact of these developments will be seen in the basic research and clinical laboratories, as well as in drug development.
PMCID: PMC2200865  PMID: 16604537
microarray; systems biology; proteomics; protein array; high throughput screening; drug discovery; diagnostics
22.  Characterisation of the DNA-binding profile of barley HvCBF1 using an enzymatic method for rapid, quantitative and high-throughput analysis of the DNA-binding activity 
Nucleic Acids Research  2002;30(15):e77.
A rapid and quantitative DNA-binding assay was developed based on the translational fusion of a DNA-binding protein (DBP) with a Neocallimastix patriciarum β-1,4-d-glucanase, CelD. CelD releases a fluorescent 4-methylumbelliferyl product from 4-methylumbelliferyl cellobioside. This hydrolysis activity was used to quantify the amount of DBP–CelD bound to an immobilised biotin-labelled target sequence. The DNA-binding assay can be performed in a 96-well plate format for high- throughput analysis of putative DBPs. This method was applied to analysis of the binding properties and sequence selectivity of a cold-inducible transcription factor HvCBF1 from barley containing an AP2 DNA-binding domain. A base-scanning approach using degenerate oligonucleotide probes was employed for rapid identification of the conserved core motif of the HvCBF1 binding site. Quantitative analysis of the binding site of HvCBF1 using systematic base substitution revealed that a (G/a) (C/t)CGAC sequence was sufficient to constitute a functional motif, where the lower-case letters represent less efficient bases. The method enables us to provide accurate and quantitative data on a comprehensive DNA-binding profile for a cold-inducible AP2 transcription factor as well as information on environmental parameters potentially influencing the DNA-binding activity. The accurate binding sequence data facilitate identification of candidate genes regulated by HvCBF1 from genome sequence databases.
PMCID: PMC137095  PMID: 12140339
23.  Multiplexed Serologic Assay for Nine Anogenital Human Papillomavirus Types▿  
A multiplexed human papillomavirus (HPV) immunoassay has been developed for the detection of human IgG antibodies to HPV type 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 virus-like particle (VLP) types in serum following natural infection or immunization with VLP-based vaccines. The VLP antigens were covalently conjugated to carboxyl Luminex microspheres (MS) using a carbodiimide chemistry. Antibody (Ab) titers were determined in a direct binding format, in which an IgG1- to -4-specific, phycoerythrin (PE)-labeled monoclonal antibody (MAb) (HP6043) binds to human serum IgG antibodies. Pooled serum samples from rhesus macaques immunized with a 9-valent VLP-based vaccine served as the reference standard. The overall specificity of the assay was >99%, and the linearity (parallelism) of the assay was <7% per 10-fold dilution. Total assay precision was <19% across 3 different VLP-microsphere lots, 2 secondary antibody lots, and 2 different operators over a period of 3 weeks. Three different methods were used to evaluate serostatus cutoffs (SCO): (i) a clinical sensitivity/specificity analysis based on “likely negative” and “likely positive” samples from nonvaccinees, (ii) stringent upper tolerance limits on samples from “likely negatives,” and (iii) stringent upper tolerance limits from the same “likely negative” sample set after VLP adsorption. Depending on the method to set the serostatus cutoff, the percentage of seropositive samples at the month 48 time point following vaccination with the HPV 6/11/16/18 quadrivalent vaccine ranged from 70% to 100%. This assay has proven useful for measuring the levels of serum antibody to the nine HPV VLPs following natural infection or administration of VLP-based vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2863382  PMID: 20237197
24.  DPI-ELISA: a fast and versatile method to specify the binding of plant transcription factors to DNA in vitro 
Plant Methods  2010;6:25.
About 10% of all genes in eukaryote genomes are predicted to encode transcription factors. The specific binding of transcription factors to short DNA-motifs influences the expression of neighbouring genes. However, little is known about the DNA-protein interaction itself. To date there are only a few suitable methods to characterise DNA-protein-interactions, among which the EMSA is the method most frequently used in laboratories. Besides EMSA, several protocols describe the effective use of an ELISA-based transcription factor binding assay e.g. for the analysis of human NFκB binding to specific DNA sequences.
We provide a unified protocol for this type of ELISA analysis, termed DNA-Protein-Interaction (DPI)-ELISA. Qualitative analyses with His-epitope tagged plant transcription factors expressed in E. coli revealed that EMSA and DPI-ELISA result in comparable and reproducible data. The binding of AtbZIP63 to the C-box and AtWRKY11 to the W2-box could be reproduced and validated by both methods. We next examined the physical binding of the C-terminal DNA-binding domains of AtWRKY33, AtWRKY50 and AtWRKY75 to the W2-box. Although the DNA-binding domain is highly conserved among the WRKY proteins tested, the use of the DPI-ELISA discloses differences in W2-box binding properties between these proteins. In addition to these well-studied transcription factor families, we applied our protocol to AtBPC2, a member of the so far uncharacterised plant specific Basic Pentacysteine transcription factor family. We could demonstrate binding to GA/TC-dinucleotide repeat motifs by our DPI-ELISA protocol. Different buffers and reaction conditions were examined.
We successfully applied our DPI-ELISA protocol to investigate the DNA-binding specificities of three different classes of transcription factors from Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the analysis of the binding affinity of any DNA-binding protein to any given DNA sequence can be performed via this method. The DPI-ELISA is cost efficient, less time-consuming than other methods and provides a qualitative and quantitative readout. The presented DPI-ELISA protocol is accompanied by advice on trouble-shooting, which will enable scientists to rapidly establish this versatile and easy to use method in their laboratories.
PMCID: PMC3003642  PMID: 21108821
25.  Targeting the DNA-binding activity of the human ERG transcription factor using new heterocyclic dithiophene diamidines 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(1):125-138.
Direct modulation of gene expression by targeting oncogenic transcription factors is a new area of research for cancer treatment. ERG, an ETS-family transcription factor, is commonly over-expressed or translocated in leukaemia and prostate carcinoma. In this work, we selected the di-(thiophene-phenyl-amidine) compound DB1255 as an ERG/DNA binding inhibitor using a screening test of synthetic inhibitors of the ERG/DNA interaction followed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) validation. Spectrometry, footprint and biosensor-surface plasmon resonance analyses of the DB1255/DNA interaction evidenced sequence selectivity and groove binding as dimer. Additional EMSA evidenced the precise DNA-binding sequence required for optimal DB1255/DNA binding and thus for an efficient ERG/DNA complex inhibition. We further highlighted the structure activity relationships from comparison with derivatives. In cellulo luciferase assay confirmed this modulation both with the constructed optimal sequences and the Osteopontin promoter known to be regulated by ERG and which ERG-binding site was protected from DNaseI digestion on binding of DB1255. These data showed for the first time the ERG/DNA complex modulation, both in vitro and in cells, by a heterocyclic diamidine that specifically targets a portion of the ERG DNA recognition site.
PMCID: PMC3592449  PMID: 23093599

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