Magnetic Levitation as a Platform for Competitive Protein–Ligand Binding Assays
Shapiro, Nathan D.
Mirica, Katherine A.
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CitationShapiro, Nathan D., Siowling Soh, Katherine A. Mirica, and George M. Whitesides. 2012. Magnetic Levitation as a Platform for Competitive Protein–Ligand Binding Assays. Analytical Chemistry 84, no. 14: 6166–6172.
AbstractThis paper describes a method based on magnetic levitation (MagLev) that is capable of indirectly measuring the binding of unlabeled ligands to unlabeled protein. We demonstrate this method by measuring the affinity of unlabeled bovine carbonic anhydrase (BCA) for a variety of ligands (most of which are benzene sulfonamide derivatives). This method utilizes porous gel beads that are functionalized with a common aryl sulfonamide ligand. The beads are incubated with BCA and allowed to reach an equilibrium state in which the majority of the immobilized ligands are bound to BCA. Since the beads are less dense than the protein, protein binding to the bead increases the overall density of the bead. This change in density can be monitored using MagLev. Transferring the beads to a solution containing no protein creates a situation where net protein efflux from the bead is thermodynamically favorable. The rate at which protein leaves the bead for the solution can be calculated from the rate at which the levitation height of the bead changes. If another small molecule ligand of BCA is dissolved in the solution, the rate of protein efflux is accelerated significantly. This paper develops a reaction-diffusion (RD) model to explain both this observation, and the physical-organic chemistry that underlies it. Using this model, we calculate the dissociation constants of several unlabeled ligands from BCA, using plots of levitation height versus time. Notably, although this method requires no electricity, and only a single piece of inexpensive equipment, it can measure accurately the binding of unlabeled proteins to small molecules over a wide range of dissociation constants (Kd values within the range from 10 nM to 100 μM are measured easily). Assays performed using this method generally can be completed within a relatively short time period (20 min–2 h). A deficiency of this system is that it is not, in its present form, applicable to proteins with molecular weight greater than approximately 65 kDa.
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