Controlling colloidal stability of silica nanoparticles during bioconjugation reactions with proteins and improving their longer-term stability, handling and storage
Despite the potential of antibody-coated nanoparticles (Ab-NPs) in many biological applications, there are very few successful, commercially available examples in which the carefully engineered nanomaterial has made it beyond the laboratory bench. Herein we explore the robustness and cost of protein-nanoparticle conjugation. Using multivalent polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers and dextran as crosslinkers, it was possible to retain colloidal stability during (i) NP-linker binding and (ii) the subsequent conjugation reaction between linker-coated NPs and proteins to generate monodisperse Ab-NPs. This was attributed to the physicochemical properties of the linkers, which were inherited by the NPs and thus benefited colloidal stability. Attaching negatively charged, EDC/sulfo-NHS-activated PAMAM to the NPs contributed to overall negative charge of particles, and in turn led to high electrostatic attraction between the protein and PAMAM-coated NPs during the reaction conditions. In contrast, using an uncharged, EDC/NHS-activated PAMAM dendrimer led to NP aggregation and lower protein binding efficiency. Dextran as a cost-effective, uncharged macromolecule allowed for steric repulsions between neighbouring particles during protein binding, thus inducing NP stability in solution, and also produced monodisperse Ab-NPs. By freeze-drying Ab-NPs from a 1% BSA solution it is possible to reconstitute the solid-form colloid back to a stable state by adding solvent and simply shaking the sample vial by hand. The consequences of the different surface chemistries and freeze-drying stabilizers on the colloidal stability of the NPs were probed by dynamic light scattering. The performance of Ab-NPs was compared in a simple fluorescence linked immunoassay in whole serum. Interestingly, the signal-to-noise ratios were similar for Ab-NPs using PAMAM and dextran, despite dextran binding fewer Abs per NP. We believe this work provides researchers with the tools and strategies for reliably generating Ab-NPs that can be used for a variety of biological applications.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2015 Journal of Materials Chemistry B Hot Papers, Highlighting materials research in the UK for biology and medicine and 2015 Journal of Materials Chemistry B Most Accessed Manuscripts