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Application of Colloidal Palladium Nanoparticles for Labeling in Electron Microscopy

  • Marie Vancová (a1) (a2), Miroslav Šlouf (a3), Jan Langhans (a1), Eva Pavlová (a3) and Jana Nebesářová (a1) (a4)...


The application of palladium nanoparticles as electron-dense markers for labeling in both transmission and scanning electron microscopy requires their conjugation to a specific protein. The conjugation protocol described here includes the dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA) capping of Pd nanoparticles (8 nm equivalent diameter) and their subsequent covalent attachment to functional protein molecules such as streptavidin, protein A, or avidin. The single-step reaction was mediated using the cross-linking agent ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC). The final Pd conjugates were fully functional, as demonstrated by labeling of ultrathin resin sections of either bovine serum albumin or secretory granules of the salivary gland isolated from the partially fed female Ixodes ricinus tick. The results of bovine serum labeling were quantified, statistically evaluated, and compared with results obtained using commercially available gold particle conjugates (10 nm diameter). The highest values of labeling density were achieved using both streptavidin-Pd (106 ± 7 particles/μm2) and protein A-Au conjugates (130 ± 18 particles/μm2) compared to a commercial streptavidin-Au (66 ± 16 particles/μm2) and protein A-Pd conjugates (70 ± 11 particles/μm2). The concentrations of both DHLA and EDC, pH during conjugation, and finally thorough washing away of unbound proteins crucially influenced conjugation.


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