Antibody microarrays constitute a next-generation sensing platform that has the potential to revolutionize the way that molecular detection is conducted in many scientific fields. Unfortunately, current technologies have not found mainstream use because of reliability problems that undermine trust in their results. Although several factors are involved, it is believed that undesirable protein interactions with the array surface are a fundamental source of problems where little detail about the molecular-level biophysics are known. A better understanding of antibody stability and antibody-antigen binding on the array surface is needed to improve microarray technology. Despite the availability of many laboratory methods for studying protein stability and binding, these methods either do not work when the protein is attached to a surface or they do not provide the atomistic structural information that is needed to better understand protein behavior on the surface. As a result, molecular simulation has emerged as the primary method for studying proteins on surfaces because it can provide metrics and views of atomistic structures and molecular motion. Using an advanced, coarse-grain, protein-surface model this study investigated how antibodies react to and function on different types of surfaces. Three topics were addressed: (1) the stability of individual antibodies on surfaces, (2) antibody binding to small antigens while on a surface, and (3) antibody binding to large antigens while on a surface. The results indicate that immobilizing antibodies or antibody fragments in an upright orientation on a hydrophilic surface can provide the molecules with thermal stability similar to their native aqueous stability, enhance antigen binding strength, and minimize the entropic cost of binding. Furthermore, the results indicate that it is more difficult for large antigens to approach the surface than small antigens, that multiple binding sites can aid antigen binding, and that antigen flexiblity simultaneously helps and hinders the binding process as it approaches the surface. The results provide hope that next-generation microarrays and other devices decorated with proteins can be improved through rational design.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





antibody, antigen, coarse-grain, ligand binding, molecular simulation, microarray, protein stability, umbrella sampling, replica exchange, lysozyme, hemagglutinin