Sandwich Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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Tony Rook
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Sandwich Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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Sandwich Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay


Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs) combine the specificity of antibodies with the sensitivity of simple enzyme assays, by using antibodies or antigens coupled to an easily assayed enzyme that possesses a high turnover number. ELISAs can provide a useful measurement of antigen or antibody concentration.

Sandwich ELISA Assays

One of the most useful of the immunoassays is the two antibody sandwich ELISA. This assay is used to determine the antigen concentration in unknown samples. This ELISA is fast and accurate, and if a purified antigen standard is available, the assay can determine the absolute amount of antigen in an unknown sample. The sandwich ELISA requires two antibodies that bind to epitopes that do not overlap on the antigen. This can be accomplished with either two monoclonal antibodies that recognize discrete sites or one batch of affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies.

To utilize this assay, one antibody (the capture antibody) is purified and bound to a solid phase typically attached to the bottom of a plate well. Antigen is then added and allowed to complex with the bound antibody. Unbound products are then removed with a wash, and a labeled second antibody (the detection antibody) is allowed to bind to the antigen, thus completing the sandwich. The assay is then quantitated by measuring the amount of labeled second antibody bound to the matrix, through the use of a colorimetric substrate. Major advantages of this technique are that the antigen does not need to be purified prior to use, and that these assays are very specific. However, one disadvantage is that not all antibodies can be used. Monoclonal antibody combinations must be qualified as matched pairs, meaning that they can recognize separate epitopes on the antigen so they do not hinder each others binding.