Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Rational targeting of subclasses of intermolecular interactions: elimination of nonspecific binding for analyte sensing.

PMID 25046104


The ability to target and control intermolecular interactions is crucial in the development of several different technologies. Here we offer a tool to rationally design liquid media systems that can modulate specific intermolecular interactions. This has broad implications in deciphering the nature of intermolecular forces in complex solutions and offers insight into the forces that govern both specific and nonspecific binding in a given system. Nonspecific binding still continues to be a problem when dealing with analyte detection across a range of different detection technologies. Here, we exemplify the problem of nonspecific binding on model membrane systems and when dealing with low-abundance protein detection on commercially available SPR technology. A range of different soluble reagents that target specific subclasses of intermolecular interactions have been tested and optimized to virtually eliminate nonspecific binding while leaving specific interactions unperturbed. Thiocyanate ions are used to target nonpolar interactions, and small reagents such as glycylglycylglycine are used to modulate the dielectric constant, which targets charge-charge and dipole interactions. We show that with rational design and careful modulation these reagents offer a step forward in dissecting the intermolecular forces that govern binding, alongside offering nonspecific binding elimination in detection systems.