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Multiplexed Single Molecule Immunoassays

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Lab On A Chip | April 29, 2013

David M. Rissin, Cheuk W. Kan, Linan Song, Andrew J. Rivnak, Matthew W. Fishburn, Qichao Shao, Tomasz Piech, Evan P. Ferrell, Raymond E. Meyer, Todd G. Campbell, David R. Fournier and David C. Duffy
Lab on a Chip
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC50416F

We have developed a method that enables the multiplexed detection of proteins based on counting single molecules. Paramagnetic beads were labeled with fluorescent dyes to create optically distinct subpopulations of beads, and antibodies to specific proteins were then immobilized to individual subpopulations. Mixtures of subpopulations of beads were then incubated with a sample, and specific proteins were captured on their specific beads; these proteins were then labeled with enzymes via immunocomplex formation. The beads were suspended in enzyme substrate, loaded into arrays of femtoliter wells—or Single Molecule Arrays (Simoa)—that were integrated into a microfluidic device (the Simoa disc). The wells were then sealed with oil, and imaged fluorescently to determine: a) the location and subpopulation identity of individual beads in the femtoliter wells, and b) the presence or absence of a single enzyme associated with each bead. The images were analyzed to determine the average enzyme per bead (AEB) for each bead subpopulation that provide a quantitative parameter for determining the concentration of each protein. We used this approach to simultaneously detect TNF-a, IL-6, IL-1a, and IL-1ß in human plasma with single molecule resolution at subfemtomolar concentrations, i.e., 200- to 1000-fold more sensitive than current multiplexed immunoassays. The simultaneous, specific, and sensitive measurement of several proteins using multiplexed digital ELISA could enable more reliable diagnoses of disease.