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Monolayers of 3-Mercaptopropyl-amino Acid to Reduce the Nonspecific Adsorption of Serum Proteins on the Surface of Biosensors

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journal contribution
posted on 21.10.2008 by Olivier R. Bolduc, Jean-François Masson
Monolayers prepared with polar or ionic amino acids with short side chains have a reduced nonspecific adsorption of serum proteins compared to that of hydrophobic amino acids and organic monolayers immobilized on the gold surface of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensors. Proteins contained in biological samples adsorb on most surfaces, which in the case of biosensors causes a nonspecific response that hinders the quantification of biomarkers in these biological samples. To circumvent this problem, self-assembled monolayers (SAM) of N-3-mercaptopropyl-amino acids (3-MPA-amino acids) were prepared from 19 natural amino acids. These SAM were investigated to limit the nonspecific adsorption of proteins contained in biological fluids and to immobilize molecular receptors (i.e., antibodies) that are necessary in the construction of biosensors. SPR and Ge attenuated total reflection (GATR) FTIR spectroscopy were employed to characterize the formation of the amino acid SAMs. Monolayers of 3-MPA-amino acids densely packed on the surface of the SPR biosensors result in a surface concentration of approximately 1015 molecules/cm2. SPR also quantifies the surface concentration of serum proteins nonspecifically adsorbed on 3-MPA-amino acids following the exposure of the biosensor to undiluted bovine serum. The concentration of nonspecifically bound proteins ranged from approximately 400 ng/cm2 with polar and ionic amino acids to approximately 800 ng/cm2 with amino acids of increased hydrophobicity. The nonspecific adsorption of serum proteins on the 3-MPA-amino acids increases in the following order: Asp < Asn < Ser < Met < Glu < Gln < Thr < Gly < His < Cys < Arg < Phe < Trp < Val < Pro < Ile < Leu < Ala < Tyr. The analysis of the adsorption and desorption curves for serum proteins on the SPR sensorgram has demonstrated the strong irreversibility of the protein adsorption on each surface. The effective hydrophilicity of the SAMs was measured from the contact angle with a saline buffer and has demonstrated that surfaces minimizing the contact angle with PBS performed better in serum. The antibody for β-lactamase was immobilized on a 3-MPA-glycine SAM, and β-lactamase was detected in the nanomolar range. The presence of β-lactamase is an indicator of antibiotic resistance.