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Bioconjug Chem. 2012 Mar 21;23(3):450-60. doi: 10.1021/bc200482z. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

Fluorinated colloidal gold immunolabels for imaging select proteins in parallel with lipids using high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


The local abundance of specific lipid species near a membrane protein is hypothesized to influence the protein's activity. The ability to simultaneously image the distributions of specific protein and lipid species in the cell membrane would facilitate testing these hypotheses. Recent advances in imaging the distribution of cell membrane lipids with mass spectrometry have created the desire for membrane protein probes that can be simultaneously imaged with isotope labeled lipids. Such probes would enable conclusive tests to determine whether specific proteins colocalize with particular lipid species. Here, we describe the development of fluorine-functionalized colloidal gold immunolabels that facilitate the detection and imaging of specific proteins in parallel with lipids in the plasma membrane using high-resolution SIMS performed with a NanoSIMS. First, we developed a method to functionalize colloidal gold nanoparticles with a partially fluorinated mixed monolayer that permitted NanoSIMS detection and rendered the functionalized nanoparticles dispersible in aqueous buffer. Then, to allow for selective protein labeling, we attached the fluorinated colloidal gold nanoparticles to the nonbinding portion of antibodies. By combining these functionalized immunolabels with metabolic incorporation of stable isotopes, we demonstrate that influenza hemagglutinin and cellular lipids can be imaged in parallel using NanoSIMS. These labels enable a general approach to simultaneously imaging specific proteins and lipids with high sensitivity and lateral resolution, which may be used to evaluate predictions of protein colocalization with specific lipid species.

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