Detection of receptor-ligand interactions is generally accomplished by indirect assays such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A direct colorimetric detection method based on a polydiacetylene bilayer assembled on glass microscope slides has been developed. The bilayer is composed of a self-assembled monolayer of octadecylsilane and a Langmuir-Blodgett monolayer of polydiacetylene. The polydiacetylene layer is functionalized with an analog of sialic acid, the receptor-specific ligand for the influenza virus hemagglutinin. The sialic acid ligand serves as a molecular recognition element and the conjugated polymer backbone signals binding at the surface by a chromatic transition. The color transition is readily visible to the naked eye as a blue to red color change and can be quantified by visible absorption spectroscopy. Direct colorimetric detection by polydiacetylene films offers new possibilities for diagnostic applications and screening for new drug candidates or binding ligands.
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