Tracking single membrane targets of human autoantibodies using single nanoparticle imaging
Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2018-07-01; 304: 76-82
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BACKGROUND: Over the past decade, an increasing number of neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases have been associated with the expression of autoantibodies directed against neuronal targets, including neurotransmitter receptors. Although cell-based assays are routinely used in clinics to detect the presence of immunoglobulins, such tests often provide heterogeneous outcomes due to their limited sensitivity, especially at low titers. Thus, there is an urging need for new methods allowing the detection of autoantibodies in seropositive
patients that cannot always be clinically distinguished from seronegative ones.
NEW METHOD: Here we make a case for single nanoparticle imaging approaches as a highly sensitive antibody detection assay. Through high-affinity interactions between functionalized nanoparticles and autoantibodies that recognize extracellular domains of membrane neuronal targets, single nanoparticle imaging allows a live surface staining of transmembrane proteins and gives access to their surface dynamics.
RESULTS AND COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHOD(S): We show here that this method is well-suited to detect low titers of purified immunoglobulin G (IgG) from first-episode psychotic patients and demonstrate that these IgG target glutamatergic N-Methyl-d-Aspartate receptors (NMDAR) in live hippocampal neurons. The molecular behaviors of targeted membrane receptors were indistinguishable from those of endogenous GluN1 NMDAR subunit and were virtually independent of the IgG concentration present in the sample contrary to classical cell-based assays.
CONCLUSIONS: Single nanoparticle imaging emerges as a real-time sensitive method to detect IgG directed against neuronal surface proteins, which could be used as an additional step to rule out ambiguous seropositivity diagnoses.