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Anal Biochem. 1990 Jan;184(1):172-83.

DESIGN: computerized optimization of experimental design for estimating Kd and Bmax in ligand binding experiments. II. Simultaneous analysis of homologous and heterologous competition curves and analysis blocking and of "multiligand" dose-response surfaces.

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Laboratory of Theoretical and Physical Biology, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


We have developed a computer program, DESIGN, for optimization of ligand binding experiments to minimize the "average" uncertainty in all unknown parameters. An earlier report [G. E. Rovati, D. Rodbard, and P. J. Munson (1988) Anal. Biochem. 174, 636-649] described the application of this program to experiments involving a single homologous or heterologous dose-response curve. We now present several advanced features of the program DESIGN, including simultaneous optimization of two or more binding competition curves optimization of a "multiligand" experiment. Multiligand designs are those which use combinations of two (or more) ligands in each reaction tube. Such designs are an important and natural extension of the popular method of "blocking experiments" where an additional ligand is used to suppress one or more classes of sites. Extending the idea of a dose-response curve, the most general multiligand design would result in a "dose-response surface". One can now optimize the design not only for a single binding curve, but also for families of curves and for binding surfaces. The examples presented in this report further demonstrate the power and utility of the program DESIGN and the nature of D-optimal designs in the context of more complex binding experiments. We illustrate D-optimal designs involving one radioligand and two unlabeled ligands; we consider one example of homogeneous and several examples of heterogeneous binding sites. Further, to demonstrate the virtues of the dose-response surface experiment, we have compared the optimal surface design to the equivalent design restricted to traditional dose-response curves. The use of DESIGN in conjunction with multiligand experiments can improve the efficiency of estimation of the binding parameters, potentially resulting in reduction of the number of observations needed to obtain a desired degree of precision in representative cases.

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