Scanning Microscopy


The labeling of target proteins by immunogold particles has been analyzed based on Einstein's law of Brownian motion. The theory was confirmed from the experiments which employed antifibrinogen gold markers to label fibrinogen molecules adsorbed on the polyethylene surface. The theory predicts that the degree of labeling depends on the concentration of gold markers, temperature, medium viscosity, size of gold markers, and staining time. Of these factors most important is the concentration of immunogold particles. Small change in the marker concentration results in a significant variation in the staining efficiency when other variables are kept constant. The effect of temperature is always accompanied with that of the medium viscosity. There is a linear relationship between the degree of labeling and the temperature when the viscosity effect is combined. The staining of fibrinogen molecules adsorbed on the polyethylene surface at three different temperatures shows a temperature dependence which is in close agreement with the theory. The degree of labeling is inversely related to a square root of the size of gold markers.

This analysis makes it possible to maximize the staining sensitivity and to improve the reproducibility of the labeling. Thus, the immunogold staining under a well defined condition allows quantification as well as positive identification and localization of target proteins. This technique has been used to study protein adsorption on biomaterials.

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