Researchers at the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) at the University of Tuebingen developed an immunoassay technology, known as reverse phase protein microarray (RPPM), for applications including biomarker research, early drug discovery screening, and drug profiling. Based on planar waveguide technology developed at Zeptosens, a Bayer Technology Services company, the approach detects specific protein analytes in hundreds of samples simultaneously using well-characterized antibodies.
NMI maintains that the technology is ideal for investigations in phosphoproteomics (protein phosphorylation), a growing field of research that currently relies on technology involving the enrichment of phosphopeptides or proteins prior to mass spectrometry analysis.
“Drawbacks of the MS approach include the requirement for relatively large samples, time-consuming sample preparation, and problems with automation. In contrast, RPPM technology is significantly higher in throughput, and requires minimal sample and reagents,” explained Markus Templin, Ph.D., head of assay development at NMI. “The technology can be used for the comparative, multiparallel evaluation of several hundred samples, for applications ranging from preclinical toxicity and drug mechanism studies, to protein profiling in healthy versus diseased human tissues.
“It is, we believe, one of the most sensitive fluorescence-based approaches available, as only bound analytes at the surface of the chip generate fluorescence. Signals from unbound molecules in the bulk solution are not detected, which significantly increases the signal-to-noise ratio, allowing the detection of low-abundance proteins,” he added.