Molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles (nanoMIPs) are receiving broad interest as robust and highly selective synthetic receptors for a variety of molecules. Due to their stability, inexpensive synthesis and easy implementation, they are considered a promising alternative to antibodies in sensors, diagnostics and separation applications. The most challenging targets for the production of synthetic receptors are proteins due to their fragile nature and the multitude of possible binding sites in their structure. Herein, we describe the modification and optimization of the protocol for synthesis of nanoMIPs with specificity for proteins using the prototype of an automated solid-phase synthesizer. Using an automated system gives an advantage for the simple, fast and fully controlled, reproducible production of nanoMIPs. The molecular imprinting in the reactor is performed using a template covalently immobilized on a solid support, in mild conditions suitable for preserving protein native structure. The validation of the protocol was made by assessing the ability to regenerate a solid-phase, and by measuring affinity and specificity of nanoparticles. As a model protein, we have chosen trypsin since its enzymatic activity can be easily monitored by using a commercial colorimetric assay. Different protocols were tested for their ability to improve the yield of high affinity nanoparticles in the final elution.
- Automatic chemical reactor
- Molecularly imprinted nanoparticles
- Protein imprinting
- Solid-phase synthesis