Measuring Ligand Binding Kinetics to Membrane Proteins Using Virion Nano-oscillators

Guangzhong Ma, Guan Da Syu, Xiaonan Shan, Brandon Henson, Shaopeng Wang, Prashant J. Desai, Heng Zhu, Nongjian Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Membrane proteins play vital roles in cellular signaling processes and serve as the most popular drug targets. A key task in studying cellular functions and developing drugs is to measure the binding kinetics of ligands with the membrane proteins. However, this has been a long-standing challenge because one must perform the measurement in a membrane environment to maintain the conformations and functions of the membrane proteins. Here, we report a new method to measure ligand binding kinetics to membrane proteins using self-assembled virion oscillators. Virions of human herpesvirus were used to display human G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) on their viral envelopes. Each virion was then attached to a gold-coated glass surface via a flexible polymer to form an oscillator and driven into oscillation with an alternating electric field. By tracking changes in the oscillation amplitude in real-time with subnanometer precision, the binding kinetics between ligands and GPCRs was measured. We anticipate that this new label-free detection technology can be readily applied to measure small or large ligand binding to any type of membrane proteins and thus contribute to the understanding of cellular functions and screening of drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11495-11501
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 12 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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