PEGylation of concanavalin A to improve its stability for an in vivo glucose sensing assay. Academic Article uri icon


  • Competitive binding assays utilizing concanavalin A (ConA) have the potential to be the basis of improved continuous glucose monitoring devices. However, the efficacy and lifetime of these assays have been limited, in part, by ConA's instability due to its thermal denaturation in the physiological environment (37 C, pH 7.4, 0.15 M NaCl) and its electrostatic interaction with charged molecules or surfaces. These undesirable interactions change the constitution of the assay and the kinetics of its behavior over time, resulting in an unstable glucose response. In this work, poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains are covalently attached to lysine groups on the surface of ConA (i.e., PEGylation) in an attempt to improve its stability in these environments. Dynamic light scattering measurements indicate that PEGylation significantly improved ConA's thermal stability at 37 C, remaining stable for at least 30 days. Furthermore, after PEGylation, ConA's binding affinity to the fluorescent competing ligand previously designed for the assay was not significantly affected and remained at ~5.4 10(6) M(-1) even after incubation at 37 C for 30 days. Moreover, PEGylated ConA maintained the ability to track glucose concentrations when implemented within a competitive binding assay system. Finally, PEGylation showed a reduction in electrostatic-induced aggregation of ConA with poly(allylamine), a positively charged polymer, by shielding ConA's charges. These results indicate that PEGylated ConA can overcome the instability issues from thermal denaturation and nonspecific electrostatic binding while maintaining the required sugar-binding characteristics. Therefore, the PEGylation of ConA can overcome major hurdles for ConA-based glucose sensing assays to be used for long-term continuous monitoring applications in vivo.

published proceedings

  • Anal Chem

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Locke, A. K., Cummins, B. M., Abraham, A. A., & Cot, G. L.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Locke, Andrea K||Cummins, Brian M||Abraham, Alexander A||Coté, Gerard L

publication date

  • September 2014