Synthesis and application of organomercury haptens for enzyme-linked immunoassay of inorganic and organic mercury

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Journal of Analytical Biochemistry


Organomercury hapten, Mercury immunoassay, ELISA, Enzyme immunoassay, Mercury detection


Two organomercury haptens were synthesized via the classical oxymercuration reaction. An intramolecular oxymercuration reaction was the strategy employed to prepare a structurally simple, but chemically robust, organomercury hapten that was conjugated to chicken immunoglobulin G (IgG). The resulting immunogen afforded mouse anti-mercury antibodies that were evaluated in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Antibodies demonstrating high titers were obtained, and various immunoassay parameters were investigated. The sensitivity and selectivity of the resulting antibodies were evaluated by exploring different cross-coupling chemistries and solid-phase synthetic variations. A second hapten was prepared with the intermolecular oxymercuration reaction, and the resulting compound, once coupled to carrier protein, afforded a solid-phase conjugate that revealed the versatility of the mouse anti-mercury antibody. The anti-mercury antibody developed in this study was capable of detecting both mercury(II) salts and organomercury compounds.


Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This work was supported by the Center for Innovation in Bio-technology (CIB, Augusta, ME, USA) and by the University of Southern Maine Faculty Senate and the Summer Undergraduate Fellowship program. The MALDI–MS used to characterize organo-mercury-linked conjugates was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant CHE-0116416. The authors thank Elizabeth Stemmler (Bowdoin College) for her assistance in collecting and analyzing MALDI–MS data. The ICP used in this work was supported by the NSF under Grant DUE-0127017. The authors thank Nancy Gordon (University of Southern Maine) for her assistance in collecting ICP data.