Research & Teaching Faculty

Enhancement of biological reactions on cell surfaces via macromolecular crowding

TitleEnhancement of biological reactions on cell surfaces via macromolecular crowding
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsChapanian, R, Kwan, DH, Constantinescu, I, Shaikh, FA, Rossi, NAA, Withers, SG, Kizhakkedathu, JN
Date PublishedAUG

The reaction of macromolecules such as enzymes and antibodies with cell surfaces is often an inefficient process, requiring large amounts of expensive reagent. Here we report a general method based on macromolecular crowding with a range of neutral polymers to enhance such reactions, using red blood cells (RBCs) as a model system. Rates of conversion of type A and B red blood cells to universal O type by removal of antigenic carbohydrates with selective glycosidases are increased up to 400-fold in the presence of crowders. Similar enhancements are seen for antibody binding. We further explore the factors underlying these enhancements using confocal microscopy and fluorescent recovery after bleaching (FRAP) techniques with various fluorescent protein fusion partners. Increased cell-surface concentration due to volume exclusion, along with two-dimensionally confined diffusion of enzymes close to the cell surface, appear to be the major contributing factors.