Single-chain fragment variable antibody piezoimmunosensors

Zhihong Shen, Gabrielle A. Stryker, Ray L. Mernaugh, Lei Yu, Heping Yan, Xiangqun Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


In this paper, we describe a novel nonlabeled biosensor with high diagnostic potential for rapid and sensitive detection of antigens in complex biological samples. The biosensor comprises a piezoimmunosensor (PZ) displaying a specially constructed recombinant antibody on its surface. The recombinant single-chain fragment variable (scFv) antibody contained a cysteine within the linker amino acid sequence used to join the scFv variable heavy and light chains. The presence of cysteine induced the scFv construct to self-assemble as a densely packed rigid monolayer on the gold surface of a quartz crystal microbalance. scFv molecules in this self-assembled monolayer (SAM) exhibited a defined orientation and high areal densities, with scFv-modified microbalance surfaces displaying 35 times as many variable antigen-binding sites per square centimeter as surfaces modified with whole antibody. Experimental data show that the scFv SAM PZ is superior to Fab fragment, Fab fragment containing a free sulfhydryl group (i.e., Fab-SH), and whole antibody PZs regarding sensitivity and specificity. Because of their small uniform size (MW ≈ 27000) and the ease with which they can be modified using genetic engineering, scFv's have significant advantages over whole antibodies in microbalance biosensor systems. We demonstrate here that the use of scFv containing a cysteine within the scFv linker sequence (i.e., scFv-cys) for preparation of biosensor surfaces markedly increases the density of available antigen-binding sites, yielding a system that is highly selective, rapid, and capable of detecting low concentrations of antigens in complex samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-805
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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