Systematic Optimisation of Microtiter Plate Lectin Assay to Improve Sialic Acid Linkage Detection

Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2022;25(9):1507-1517. doi: 10.2174/1386207324666210802122538.


Aims: We aimed to develop a high-throughput lectin assay with minimized background signals to investigate the interactions of lectins and sialic acid glycans, focusing on Prostate- Specific Antigen (PSA).

Background: High background signals resulting from nonspecific binding are a significant concern for microtiter plate-based Enzyme-Linked Lectin Sorbent Assays (ELISAs), as they can mask specific binding signals and cause false-positive results.

Methods: In this study, we constructed an ELISA based on different washing step parameters, including the number of washing cycles, NaCl and Tween-20 concentrations, and the type of blocking agent and evaluated the effects on both specific and nonspecific binding signals. Furthermore, we performed a PSA binding assay using the optimized ELISA.

Results: The optimal washing parameters based on the highest specific binding signal proposed four cycles of washing steps using a washing buffer containing a high salt concentration (0.5 M NaCl) and mild detergent (0.05% Tween-20). The utilization of the optimized washing parameters in this assay was shown to be sufficient to obtain the optimal binding signals without the use of any blocking agent. Binding assays performed using the optimized ELISA revealed that the glycan of the PSA sample used in this study mainly consists of terminal α2,6-linked sialic acid, as strongly recognized by Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA) with a KD value of 12.38 nM.

Conclusion: The ELISA reported in this study provides a simple yet sensitive assay for sialic acid linkage recognition.

Keywords: Sialic acid; enzyme-linked lectin sorbent assay; glycans; high-throughput; lectins; prostate-specific antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lectins* / metabolism
  • Male
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid*
  • Polysaccharides
  • Polysorbates
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Sodium Chloride


  • Lectins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Polysorbates
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid