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Microfluidic approaches for the analysis of protein–protein interactions in solution

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Arter, William E. 
Levin, Aviad 
Krainer, Georg 
Knowles, Tuomas P. J. 


Abstract: Exploration and characterisation of the human proteome is a key objective enabling a heightened understanding of biological function, malfunction and pharmaceutical design. Since proteins typically exhibit their behaviour by binding to other proteins, the challenge of probing protein-protein interactions has been the focus of new and improved experimental approaches. Here, we review recently developed microfluidic techniques for the study and quantification of protein–protein interactions. We focus on methodologies that utilise the inherent strength of microfluidics for the control of mass transport on the micron scale, to facilitate surface and membrane-free interrogation and quantification of interacting proteins. Thus, the microfluidic tools described here provide the capability to yield insights on protein–protein interactions under physiological conditions. We first discuss the defining principles of microfluidics, and methods for the analysis of protein–protein interactions that utilise the diffusion-controlled mixing characteristic of fluids at the microscale. We then describe techniques that employ electrophoretic forces to manipulate and fractionate interacting protein systems for their biophysical characterisation, before discussing strategies that use microdroplet compartmentalisation for the analysis of protein interactions. We conclude by highlighting future directions for the field, such as the integration of microfluidic experiments into high-throughput workflows for the investigation of protein interaction networks.



Review, Microfluidic, Approaches, Protein–protein interactions, Diffusional sizing, Electrophoresis, Droplet

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Biophysical Reviews

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Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L015978/1)
European Research Council (FP7/2007-2013)
Frances and Augustus Newman Foundation (/)
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (841466)