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Curious results with palladium- and platinum-carrying polymers in mass cytometry bioassays and an unexpected application as a dead cell stain

Majonis, D., Ornatsky, O., Kinach, R., Winnik, M.A.

We describe the synthesis of metal-chelating polymers (MCPs) with four different pendant polyaminocarboxylate ligands (EDTA, DTPA, TTHA, DOTA) and an orthogonal end-group, either a fluorescein molecule or a bismaleimide linker for antibody attachment. Polymer characterization by a combination of (1)H NMR, UV/vis absorption measurements, and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) indicated that each chain of the fluorescein-terminated polymers contained one dye molecule. These polymer samples were loaded with three different types of lanthanide ions as well as palladium and platinum ions. The numbers of metal atoms per chain were determined by a combination of UV/vis and conventional ICP-MS measurements. The experiments with lanthanide ions demonstrated that a net anionic charge on the polymer is important for water solubility. These experiments also showed that at least one type of lanthanide ion (La(3+)) is capable of forming a bimetallic complex with pendant DTPA groups. Conditions were developed for loading these polymers with palladium and platinum ions. While these polymers could be conjugated to antibodies, the presence of Pd or Pt ions in the polymer interfered with the ability of the antibody to recognize its antigen. For example, a goat anti-mouse (secondary) antibody labeled with polymers that contain Pd or Pt no longer recognized a primary antibody in a sandwich assay. In mass cytometry assays, these Pd- or Pt-containing MCPs were very effective in recognizing dead cells and provide a new and robust assay for distinguishing live cells from dead cells.

Citation

Majonis, D., Ornatsky, O., Kinach, R., Winnik, M.A. "Curious results with palladium- and platinum-carrying polymers in mass cytometry bioassays and an unexpected application as a dead cell stain" Biomacromolecules (2011): 3,997–4,010