Bioconjugate chemistry

Antibody quantum dot conjugates developed via copper-free click chemistry for rapid analysis of biological samples using a microfluidic microsphere array system.

PMID 24936983


Antibody-based proteomics is an enabling technology that has significant implications for cancer biomarker discovery, diagnostic screening, prognostic and pharmacodynamic evaluation of disease state, and targeted therapeutics. Quantum dot based fluoro-immunoconjugates possess promising features toward realization of this goal such as high photostability, brightness, and multispectral tunability. However, current strategies to generate such conjugates are riddled with complications such as improper orientation of antigen binding sites of the antibody, aggregation, and stability issues. We report a facile yet effective strategy to conjugate anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibody to quantum dots using copper-free click reaction, and compared them to similar constructs prepared using traditional strategies such as succinimidyl-4-(N-maleimidomethyl) cyclohexane-1-carboxylate (SMCC) and biotin-streptavidin schemes. The Fc and Fab regions of the conjugates retain their binding potential, compared to those generated through the traditional schemes. We further applied the conjugates in testing a novel microsphere array device designed to carry out sensitive detection of cancer biomarkers through fluoroimmunoassays. Using purified EGFR, we determined the limit of detection of the microscopy centric system to be 12.5 ng/mL. The biological assay, in silico, was successfully tested and validated by using tumor cell lysates, as well as human serum from breast cancer patients, and the results were compared to normal serum. A pattern consistent with established clinical data was observed, which further validates the effectiveness of the developed conjugates and its successful implementation both in vitro as well as in silico fluoroimmunoassays. The results suggest the potential development of a high throughput in silico paradigm for predicting the class of patient cancer based on EGFR expression levels relative to normal reference levels in blood.

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Dibenzocyclooctyne-PEG4-maleimide, for Copper-free Click Chemistry