Fluorinated colloidal gold immunolabels for imaging select proteins in parallel with lipids using high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry

Robert L. Wilson, Jessica F. Frisz, William P. Hanafin, Kevin J. Carpenter, Ian D. Hutcheon, Peter K. Weber, Mary L. Kraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The local abundance of specific lipid species near a membrane protein is hypothesized to influence the protein's activity. The ability to simultaneously image the distributions of specific protein and lipid species in the cell membrane would facilitate testing these hypotheses. Recent advances in imaging the distribution of cell membrane lipids with mass spectrometry have created the desire for membrane protein probes that can be simultaneously imaged with isotope labeled lipids. Such probes would enable conclusive tests to determine whether specific proteins colocalize with particular lipid species. Here, we describe the development of fluorine-functionalized colloidal gold immunolabels that facilitate the detection and imaging of specific proteins in parallel with lipids in the plasma membrane using high-resolution SIMS performed with a NanoSIMS. First, we developed a method to functionalize colloidal gold nanoparticles with a partially fluorinated mixed monolayer that permitted NanoSIMS detection and rendered the functionalized nanoparticles dispersible in aqueous buffer. Then, to allow for selective protein labeling, we attached the fluorinated colloidal gold nanoparticles to the nonbinding portion of antibodies. By combining these functionalized immunolabels with metabolic incorporation of stable isotopes, we demonstrate that influenza hemagglutinin and cellular lipids can be imaged in parallel using NanoSIMS. These labels enable a general approach to simultaneously imaging specific proteins and lipids with high sensitivity and lateral resolution, which may be used to evaluate predictions of protein colocalization with specific lipid species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-460
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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