Atomic force bio-analytics of polymerization and aggregation of phycoerythrin-conjugated immunoglobulin G molecules

Mol Immunol. 2004 Nov;41(12):1247-52. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2004.05.012.


While bio-labeled immunoglobulin (IgG) or antibodies are extensively used in imaging studies and therapeutic modality, there have been no reports describing atomic force microscopy (AFM) micrographs of these labeled IgG molecules. Here, AFM studies of phycoerythrin (PE)-conjugated IgG were undertaken to examine whether PE conjugation induced conformational changes or molecular interaction, and subsequently resulted in an alteration in nano-structures of PE-conjugated IgG complex. Once immobilized on mica, single PE-conjugated IgG molecule exhibited globular shape with approximately 60 microns in diameter and 5 microns in height. PE-conjugated IgG were able to form monomers, spindle-like trimers, and hexamers that developed through an end-end connection of two trimers, after they were continuously immobilized on mica. Interestingly, these multimers could aggregate in different directions to form circular monolayers with a highly dense core of PE-conjugated IgG polymers. The formation of these well-organized polymers and aggregates of PE-conjugated IgG may be attributed to the PE conjugation as well as the air-liquid tension on subtract. These findings may help to understand the nano-structures of bio-labeled IgG or antibodies, and facilitate the potential use of PE-conjugated antibodies as markers or immunosensers for AFM bio-analytics of biomolecules in cells and membranes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Affinity Labels / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Dimerization
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin G / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Molecular Probes / chemistry
  • Phycoerythrin / chemistry
  • Phycoerythrin / pharmacology*
  • Polymers
  • Protein Conformation / drug effects


  • Affinity Labels
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Molecular Probes
  • Polymers
  • Phycoerythrin