Behavior of ligand binding assays with crowded surfaces: Molecular model of antigen capture by antibody-conjugated nanoparticles

David C. Malaspina, Gabriel Longo, Igal Szleifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Ligand-receptor binding is of utmost importance in several biologically related disciplines. Ligand binding assays (LBA) use the high specificity and high affinity of ligands to detect, target or measure a specific receptors. One particular example of ligand binding assays are Antibody conjugated Nanoparticles (AcNPs), edge-cutting technologies that are present in several novel biomedical approaches for imaging, detection and treatment of diseases. However, the nano-confinement in AcNPs and LBA nanostructures introduces extra complexity in the analysis of ligand-receptor equilibriums. Because antibodies are large voluminous ligands, the effective affinity in AcNPs is often determined by antibody orientation and surface coverage. Moreover, antibodies have two binding sites introducing an extra ligandreceptor binding equilibrium. As consequence of all this, experimental or theoretical studies providing a guidelines for the prediction of the binding behavior in AcNPs are scarce. In this work, we present a set of theoretical calculations to shed light into the complex binding behavior of AcNPs and its implications in biomedical applications. To investigate the ligandreceptor binding on AcNPs, we have used a molecular theory that predicts the probability of different molecular conformations of the system depending on the local environment. We have considered two different pathways for designing these devices: covalently conjugated antibodies and streptavidin-biotin conjugated antibodies. We also explore the effects of surface coverage, bulk concentrations, nanoparticle size and antibody-antigen affinity. Overall, this work offers a series of theoretical predictions that can be used as a guide in the design of antibody conjugated nanoparticles for different applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0185518
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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