Bioconjugated lanthanide luminescent helicates as multilabels for lab-on-a-chip detection of cancer biomarkers
The lanthanide binuclear helicate [Eu2(LC2(CO2H))3] is coupled to avidin to yield a luminescent bioconjugate EuB1 (Q ¼ 9.3%, s(5D0) ¼ 2.17 ms). MALDI/TOF mass spectrometry confirms the covalent binding of the Eu chelate and UV-visible spectroscopy allows one to determine a luminophore/protein ratio equal to 3.2. Bio-affinity assays involving the recognition of a mucin-like protein expressed on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells by a biotinylated monoclonal antibody 5D10 to which EuB1 is attached via avidin-biotin coupling demonstrate that (i) avidin activity is little affected by the coupling reaction and (ii) detection limits obtained by time-resolved (TR) luminescence with EuB1 and a commercial Eu-avidin conjugate are one order of magnitude lower than those of an organic conjugate (FITC-streptavidin). In the second part of the paper, conditions for growing MCF-7 cells in 100–200 mm wide microchannels engraved in PDMS are established; we demonstrate that EuB1 can be applied as effectively on this lab-on-a-chip device for the detection of tumour-associated antigens as on MCF-7 cells grown in normal culture vials. In order to exploit the versatility of the ligand used for selfassembling [Ln2(LC2(CO2H))3] helicates, which sensitizes the luminescence of both EuIII and TbIII ions, a dual on-chip assay is proposed in which estrogen receptors (ERs) and human epidermal growth factor receptors (Her2/neu) can be simultaneously detected on human breast cancer tissue sections. The Ln helicates are coupled to two secondary antibodies: ERs are visualized by red-emitting EuB4 using goat anti-mouse IgG and Her2/neu receptors by green-emitting TbB5 using goat anti-rabbit IgG. The fact that the assay is more than 6 times faster and requires 5 times less reactants than conventional immunohistochemical assays provides essential advantages over conventional immunohistochemistry for future clinical biomarker detection.