Microelectrode arrays provide a unique, new method for monitoring binding events between small molecules and a biological target in ?real-time?. The method is inexpensive, easy to do using commercially available equipment, and does not require the labeling of either the molecules or the biological target being studied. In addition, the use of a microelectrode array combines that analytical capability with powerful synthetic capabilities that allow for the controlled construction and characterization of spatially addressable molecular libraries. The result is a unique opportunity to expand the utility of surface-based, ?real-time? signaling methods to include experiments that are otherwise impossible. With this said, there are still significant challenges that remain. The synthesis of libraries on an array still involves the placement of individual members of the library on the array by the electrodes using a limited number of reactions. This limits the size of a library that can be made. The analytical techniques on the arrays frequently amplify signals so there is a need to calibrate the arrays by controlling the concentration of ligands on the surface. How can this be accomplished without sacrificing the ability to characterize and tune the surface of the array. Finally, it is one thing to state that new synthetic capabilities afford new analytical opportunities, but what are these opportunities. It is the goal of the propose work to address these issues by pursuing three main objectives. First, new site-selective methods for parallel synthesis will be developed so that molecular scaffolds that are either placed or built on an array can be diversified directly on that array. In this way, larger libraries can be synthesized directly onto the arrays thus avoiding the time and expense of transferring them to an array one member at a time. Second, the methodology needed to generate concentration gradients of a ligand on the arrays will be developed. This will allow calibration of the arrays so that he data gathered can be compared with alternative methods and solution-phase data and analyzed for potential avidity events. Third, analytical experiments on the arrays will be combined with FRET studies to illustrate how the binding and cleavage events associated with a protease can both be monitored on the same experimental platform. These efforts will be combined with the development of strategies for probing the kinetics of a binding event on the arrays so that new mechanistic insights into the rate determine step of the binding/cleavage process can be obtained. Accomplishing these aims will combine to illustrate how new synthetic methodology can expand the utility of microelectrode arrays and the types of problems to which they can be applied.

Public Health Relevance

or Relevance: The discovery of small molecules that modulate the behavior of proteins is a key step in both determining how proteins function in physiological or disease processes and identifying new therapeutic targets for drug development. This discovery effort is aided by tools that allow us to rapidly and accurately screen how small molecules interact with a particular target of interest. To this end, microelectrode arrays can provide an ideal platform. The arrays are fast and inexpensive to use, and they allow for small molecule ? protein interactions to be monitored in ?real-time? as they happen. However, at the present time we are still only beginning to tap the potential of such systems because their development requires the synthesis and manipulation of complex, spatially addressable molecular surfaces in ways not possible with our existing technology. It is the goal of this work to provide the synthetic methodology needed to overcome this barrier.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Synthetic and Biological Chemistry A Study Section (SBCA)
Program Officer
Yang, Jiong
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Washington University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Saint Louis
United States
Zip Code