Microengraving is a novel immunoassay for characterizing multiple protein secretions from single cells. During the immunoassay, characteristic diffusion and kinetic time scales τD and τK determine the time for molecular diffusion of proteins secreted from the activated single lymphocytes and subsequent binding onto the glass slide surface respectively. Our results demonstrate that molecular diffusion plays important roles in the early stage of protein adsorption dynamics which shifts to a kinetic controlled mechanism in the later stage. Similar dynamic pathways are observed for protein adsorption with significantly fast rates and rapid shifts in transport mechanisms when C0* is increased a hundred times from 0.313 to 31.3. Theoretical adsorption isotherms follow the trend of experimentally obtained data. Adsorption isotherms indicate that amount of proteins secreted from individual cells and subsequently captured on a clean glass slide surface increases monotonically with time. Our study directly validates that protein secretion rates can be quantified by the microengraving immunoassay. This will enable us to apply microengraving immunoassays to quantify secretion rates from 104–105 single cells in parallel, screen antigen-specific cells with the highest secretion rate for clonal expansion and quantitatively reveal cellular heterogeneity within a small cell sample.
Song, Q. (2015). Protein adsorption in microengraving immunoassays. Sensors (Switzerland), 15(10), 26236–26250. https://doi.org/10.3390/s151026236