Microarrays provide a platform for high-throughput characterization of biomolecular interactions. To increase the sensitivity and specificity of microarrays, surface blocking is required to minimize the nonspecific interactions between analytes and unprinted yet functionalized surfaces. To block amine- or epoxy-functionalized substrates, bovine serum albumin (BSA) is one of the most commonly used blocking reagents because it is cheap and easy to use. Based on standard protocols from microarray manufactories, a BSA concentration of 1% (10 mg/mL or 200 μM) and reaction time of at least 30 min are required to efficiently block epoxy-coated slides. In this paper, we used both fluorescent and label-free methods to characterize the BSA blocking efficiency on epoxy-functionalized substrates. The blocking efficiency of BSA was characterized using a fluorescent scanner and a label-free oblique-incidence reflectivity difference (OI-RD) microscope. We found that (1) a BSA concentration of 0.05% (0.5 mg/mL or 10 μM) could give a blocking efficiency of 98%, and (2) the BSA blocking step took only about 5 min to be complete. Also, from real-time and in situ measurements, we were able to calculate the conformational properties (thickness, mass density, and number density) of BSA molecules deposited on the epoxy surface.
- biomolecular interaction
- bovine serum albumin blocking
- oblique-incidence reflectivity difference
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Medical Laboratory Technology