Quantification of immunoreactive viral influenza proteins by immunoaffinity capture and isotope-dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2011 Jun 15;83(12):4729-37. doi: 10.1021/ac2006526. Epub 2011 May 26.


An immunocapture isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IC-IDMS) method was developed to quantify antibody-bound influenza hemagglutinins (HA) in trivalent influenza vaccines (TIV). Currently, regulatory potency requirements for TIV require HA quantification based on the single radial immunodiffusion (SRID) assay, which is time-consuming, laborious, and requires production of large quantities of reagents globally. In IC-IDMS, antiserum to the HA of interest captured viral proteins that were in the correct conformation to be recognized by the antibodies. The captured proteins were digested, and evolutionarily conserved tryptic peptides were quantified using isotope-dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. IC-IDMS relies on antibody-antigen binding similar to SRID but incorporates the accuracy and precision of IDMS. Polyclonal antibodies (pAb-H3) prepared by injection of sheep with purified H3 HA captured 82.9% (55.26 fmol/μL) of the total H3 HA (66.69 fmol/μL) from the commercial TIV and 93.6% (57.23 fmol/μL) of the total H3 HA (61.14 fmol/μL) in purified virus. While other HA (H1, B), neuraminidase (N1, N2, NB), viral matrix proteins, and nucleoproteins were also captured by this antiserum, our results were not affected due to the specificity of the mass spectrometer. IC-IDMS is an accurate, precise, sensitive, and selective method to measure antibody-bound HA in purified virus and commercial vaccines.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / immunology*
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / enzymology
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / metabolism
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Neuraminidase / immunology
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism
  • Nucleoproteins / immunology
  • Nucleoproteins / metabolism
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Nucleoproteins
  • Peptides
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Neuraminidase