Optical detection of polycations via polymer film-modified microtiter plates: response mechanism and bioanalytical applications.
Microtiter plate wells modified with thin (approximately 20 microm) polymeric films capable of optically sensing macromolecular protamine and other polycationic species are described. The plates are prepared by coating the bottom of each well of a conventional 96-well polypropylene plate with an adherent polymer film (a mixture of poly(vinyl chloride) and polyurethane) containing a lipophilic 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein derivative. Surprisingly, optical response toward polycations is shown to result from the extraction of the fluorescein derivative from the polymer film into a lyophobic colloidal phase at the sample/film interface. This new phase is likely composed of a micellular-type ion pair complex between the analyte polycation from aqueous sample phase and the deprotonated form of the fluorescein derivative. Accumulation of the deprotonated fluorescein species in this interfacial region induces an absorbance change measured at 540 nm. Optimized plates can be used to sense protamine concentrations in the range of 0-100 microg/mL in 10 min with little or no response to physiological levels of common cationic species (Na+, K+, Ca2+, etc.). The modified plates are shown to be useful as simple optical detectors for measuring heparin levels in plasma via titrations with protamine and for monitoring protease activities (trypsin and plasmin) that cleave polycationic peptides/proteins such as protamine into smaller peptide fragments that are not detected by the sensing films. Assays for "clot busting" plasminogen activators (streptokinase, urokinase, and tissue plasminogen activator) are also demonstrated using this relatively simple microtiter plate-based polycation detection system.
Dai, S; Ye, Q; Wang, E; Meyerhoff, ME
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