Continuous-flow, on-line monitoring of biospecific interactions using electrospray mass spectrometry

A.C. Hogenboom, A.V. den Boer, R.J.E. Derks, H. Irth

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A continuous-flow analytical screening system is presented using electrospray mass spectrometry to measure the interaction of biologically active compounds with soluble affinity proteins. The biochemical detection system is based on a solution-phase, homogeneous assay. In a first step, compounds to be screened (e.g., biotinylated compounds, concentration range 10-1000 nmol/L) are injected into a continuous-flow reaction system and allowed to react with the affinity protein (e.g., streptavidin, concentration range 3-48 nmol/L). Subsequently, a reporter ligand (fluorescein-labeled biotin 96 nmol/L) is added to saturate the remaining free binding sites of the affinity protein and the concentration of unbound reporter ligand is measured using electrospray MS in the selected-ion monitoring mode. The presence of active compounds in the sample results in an increase of the concentration of unbound reporter ligands. The feasibility of a homogeneous MS-based biochemical assay is demonstrated using streptavidin/biotin and anti-digoxigenin/digoxin as model systems. Compared to radioactive or fluorescence-based biochemical assays, the present assay format does not require the synthesis and purification of labels. Various analytical conditions were investigated to determine the ability of MS to measure the biochemical interactions. The availability of a single ligand that can be detected at 10-50 nmol/L concentrations by electrospray MS is sufficient to set up the biochemical assay. For the biospecific interactions studies, detection limits of 10-100 nmol/L were obtained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3816-23
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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