A novel approach to the study of molecular interactions on the surface of mammalian cells using a QCM biosensor was developed. For this study, an epidermoid carcinoma cell line (A-431) and a breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MDA-MB-468) were immobilized onto polystyrene-coated quartz crystals. The binding and dissociation between the lectin Con A and the cells as well as the inhibition of the binding by monosaccharides were monitored in real time and provided an insight into the complex avidic recognition of cell glycoconjugates. The real-time lectin screening of a range of lectins, including Con A, DBA, PNA and UEA-I, enabled the accurate study of the glycosylation changes between cells, such as changes associated with cancer progression and development. Furthermore, the kinetic parameters of the interaction of Con A with MDA-MB-468 cells were studied. This application provides investigators in the field of glycobiology with a novel tool to study cell surface glycosylation and may also have impacts on drug discovery.
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