Oriented conjugates of single-domain antibodies and quantum dots: toward a new generation of ultrasmall diagnostic nanoprobes.
Common strategy for diagnostics with quantum dots (QDs) utilizes the specificity of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for targeting. However QD-mAbs conjugates are not always well-suited for this purpose because of their large size. Here, we engineered ultrasmall nanoprobes through oriented conjugation of QDs with 13-kDa single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) derived from llama IgG. Monomeric sdAbs are 12 times smaller than mAbs and demonstrate excellent capacity for refolding. sdAbs were tagged with QDs through an additional cysteine residue integrated within the C terminal of the sdAb. This approach allowed us to develop sdAbs-QD nanoprobes comprising four copies of sdAbs coupled with a QD in a highly oriented manner. sdAbs-QD conjugates specific to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) demonstrated excellent specificity of flow cytometry quantitative discrimination of CEA-positive and CEA-negative tumor cells. Moreover, the immunohistochemical labeling of biopsy samples was found to be comparable or even superior to the quality obtained with gold standard protocols of anatomopathology practice. sdAbs-QD-oriented conjugates as developed represent a new generation of ultrasmall diagnostic probes for applications in high-throughput diagnostic platforms.Lire l‘article