Mapping the distribution of specific antibody interaction forces on individual red blood cells

Natasha Yeow, Rico F. Tabor, Gil Garnier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Current blood typing methods rely on the agglutination of red blood cells (RBCs) to macroscopically indicate a positive result. An indirect agglutination mechanism is required when blood typing with IgG forms of antibodies. To date, the interaction forces between anti-IgG and IgG antibodies have been poorly quantified, and blood group related antigens have never been quantified with the atomic force microscope (AFM). Instead, the total intensity resulting from fluorescent-Tagged antibodies adsorbed on RBC has been measured to calculate an average antigen density on a series of RBCs. In this study we mapped specific antibody interaction forces on the RBC surface. AFM cantilever tips functionalized with anti-IgG were used to probe RBCs incubated with specific IgG antibodies. This work provides unique insight into antibody-Antigen interactions in their native cell-bound location, and crucially, on a per-cell basis rather than an ensemble average set of properties. Force profiles obtained from the AFM directly provide not only the anti-IgG-IgG antibody interaction force, but also the spatial distribution and density of antigens over a single cell. This new understanding might be translated into the development of very selective and quantitative interactions that underpin the action of drugs in the treatment of frontier illnesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41956
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2017

Cite this