A High Throughput Microfluidic Device to Screen Protein Binding Ligands

Proteins carry numerous functions that are essential for the sustenance and growth of humans and all forms of life. However, the affinity of proteins to peptides and their interactions are not fully explored. Identifying binding peptides can be useful for protein purification, diagnostics and therapeutics. Microbeads can be used as surfaces to allow different ligands to bind to proteins. The aim of this study is to automate a platform that can sort thousands of these beads and identify which peptides have affinity to proteins such as host cell proteins. A novel, automated, high-throughput microfluidic platform is constructed to sort the beads. Fluorescent tags, such as GFPs, are used to characterize the affinity. Because the beads range in size between 100-300 µm, the result is a robust device that can address and tolerate both larger and smaller beads. Additionally, MATLAB is used to process fluorescent images taken of each bead and sort the beads into two groups. The goal is to use the platform to explore an array of different peptides and proteins.