Accurate Correction of the “Bulk Response” in Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing Provides New Insights on Interactions Involving Lysozyme and Poly(ethylene glycol)

Surface plasmon resonance is a very well-established surface sensitive technique for label-free analysis of
biomolecular interactions, generating thousands of publications each year. An inconvenient effect that complicates interpretation of SPR results is the “bulk response” from molecules in solution, which generate signals without really binding to the surface. Here we present a physical model for determining the bulk response contribution and verify its accuracy. Our method does not require a reference channel or a separate surface region. We show that proper subtraction of the bulk response reveals an interaction
between poly(ethylene glycol) brushes and the protein lysozyme at physiological conditions. Importantly, we also show that the bulk response correction method implemented in commercial instruments is not generally accurate. Using our method, the equilibrium affinity between polymer and protein is determined to be KD = 200 μM. One reason for the weak affinity is that the interaction is relatively short-lived (1/koff < 30 s). Furthermore, we show that the bulk response correction also reveals the dynamics of self-interactions between lysozyme molecules on surfaces. Besides providing new insights on important biomolecular interactions, our method can be widely applied to improve the accuracy of SPR data generated by instruments worldwide.

Publication year: 2022
Authors: Svirelis J. 1, Andersson J. 1, Stradner A. 2, Dahlin A. 1
  1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-41296 Gothenburg, Sweden.
  2. Division of Physical Chemistry, Lund University, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden.
Published in: ACS Sensors, 2022, Vol. 7, p. 1175-1182
DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.2c00273


Au sensor slide bulk response MP-SPR technology protein interaction SPR Bulk response SPR kinetics SPR quantification


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