Title of Invention

"METHOD OF PRODUCING PLURALITY OF DYED POLYMER MICROPARTICLES"

Abstract A method of producing plurality of dyed polymer microparticle of different dye concentrations has been disclosed wherein dye is loaded into polymer microparticles to generate said microparticle populations, comprising: at least one first solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are soluble; at least one tuning solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said first and tuning solvents being immiscible or at most partially miscible; at least one third solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with the first and tuning solvents. The method comprises the steps of forming a plurality of suspensions of said polymer microparticles, each in a designated volume of a mixture including the tuning solvent and the third solvent; adding to said polymer microparticle suspension a solution including the dye dissolved in said first solvent to form a homogeneous solution in the mixture of the first, tuning and third solvents, increasing the uptake of dye into the polymer microparticles in at least one of said populations relative to another of said populations by decreasing the solvency of the mixture of the first, tuning and third solvents for the dye, by varying the tuning solvent, so as to control the partitioning of the dye between the solvent and the polymer comprising the microparticles.
Full Text METHOD FOR CONTROLLING SOLUTE LOADING OF POLYMER
MICROPARTICLES
Field of the Invention
The invention relates to a method for controlling the partitioning of a solute
between a liquid continuous phase and a solid dispersed phase, such as in the
production of stained particles,
Background of the Invention
Polymer particles containing an entrained solute, e.g., dye, are widely used as
markers for biomolecules and as internal reference and calibration standards for assay
detection methods such as flow cytometry. Four general methods have been described
in the prior art for producing fluorescent polymer particles; (A) copolymerization of
dye and monomer; (B) partitioning of water-soluble or oil-soluble dyes into preformed
particles; (C) surface functionalization of preformed particles; and (D) encapsulation of
dye droplets. In addition, polymerization methods also have been used to prepare coreshell
particles, that is, microparticles comprised of a polymer core and a polymer shell.
A. Copolvmerization based methods
Fluorescent microparticles may be synthesized by polymerization of monomeric
units to form microparticles in the presence of fluorescent dyes. US Pat. 4,326,008 to
Rembaum (1982) describes the synthesis of fluorescent microparticles by
copolymerization of functionalized acrylic monomer with a polymerizable fluorescent
comonomer. The method generally requires a polymerizable dye molecule. Such
methods, generally suffer from the drawback of possible inhibition of polymerization
by the fluorescent dye and/or bleaching of the fluorescence by the reactive constituents
of the polymerization reaction.
US Pat. 4,267,235 to Rembaum (1981) describes the synthesis of
polygluteraldehyde microspheres using suspension polymerization. Cosolubilized
fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) is used to create fluorescent microspheres.
Suspension condensation polymerization of the monomer with cosolubilized dye
molecules, while largely circumventing dye destruction and polymerization inhibition,
generates a broad particle size distribution and hence is not a suitable route for the
production of monodisperse fluorescent microspheres.
US Pat 5,073,498 to Schwartz et al. (1991) describes a process for making
fluorescent microparticles by seeded polymerization. One or more hydrophobic
fluorescent dyes are dissolved in a solution containing monomer and initiator. The
solution is added to pre-swollen microparticles. The patent discloses methods
permitting the introduction of three different dyes into a particle. The method suffers
from the drawback of possible inhibition of polymerization by the fluorescent dye, or
conversely the bleaching of the fluorescence by the polymerization process.
Multi-stage emulsion polymerization has been employed to prepare core-shell
particles without surface functional groups. US. Pat. 5,952,131 to Kumaceheva et al.
discloses a method for preparing stained core-shell particles. The method is based on
multiple stages of semi-continuous polymerization of a mixture of two monomers
(methyl methacrylate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate) and a fluorescent dye (4-
amino-7-nitrobnezo-2-oxa-l,3 diazol-labeled methyl methacrylate). The particles are
then encapsulated with an outer shell by copolymerization of methyl methacrylate and
butylmethacrylate in the presence of chain transfer agent, dodecyl mercaptan.
Kumaceheva et al. do not prepare and do not have as an object the inclusion of surface
functional group core-shell polymer product.
U. S. Patent 4,613,559 to Ober et al. discloses a method for preparing colored
toner by swelling. Polystyrene particles (5.5 micron) are prepared by dispersion
polymerization of styrene in the presence of ethanol, poly(acrylic acid),
methylcellosolve and benzoyl peroxide. Swelling is performed by dispersing the
polystyrene in an aqueous solution of sodium dodecyl sulfate and acetone. Colored
particles are .obtained by adding an emulsified dye solution (Passaic Oil Red 2144 in
methylene chloride emulsified with an aqueous solution of sodium dodecylsulfate) to
the particle dispersion.
Polymerization methods have been employed to prepare core-shell particles
containing surface functional groups. U. S. Patent 5,395,688 to Wang et al. discloses
magnetically-responsive fluorescent polymer particles comprising a polymeric core
coated with a layer of polymer containing magnetically-responsive metal oxide. The
fmal polymer shell is synthesized with a functional monomer to facilitate covalent
coupling with biological materials. The procedure of Wang et al. is based on three
steps: (1) preparation of fluorescent core particles; (2) encapsulation of metal oxide in a
polystyrene shell formed over the fluorescent core by free radical polymerization in the
absence of emulsifier but with an excess of initiator; and (3) coating of the magnetic
fluorescent particles with a layer of functional polymer. The functional polymer has
carboxyl, amino, hydroxy or sulfonic groups, Wang et al. do not describe a method for
obtaining the colored core and also does not address the problem of destruction of dye
during the free radical polymerization process.
U. S. Patent 4,829,101 to Kraerner et al. discloses two-micron fluorescent
particles obtained by core-shell polymerization. The core is obtained at 80°C by
polymerizing a mixture of isobutyl methacrylate, methyl methacrylate and ethylene
glycol dimethacrylate via ammonium persulfate initiation. A shell is synthesized over
the core by semi-continuously adding, in a first step, a mixture of the same monomers
containing a fluorescent dye (fluoro-green-gold). Through the end of the reaction, two
different monomer mixtures are added over a one hour period: a first mixture
containing methyl methacrylate, ethylene glycol-bis-(methacrylate) and glycidyl
methacrylate, and a second mixture containing methacrylamide and initiator. The
polymerization is initiated with 4,4'-azobis-(cyanovaleric acid).
Okubo et al., Colloid Polym. Sci. 269:222-226 (1991), Yamashita, et al.,
Colloids and Surfaces A., 153:153-159 (1999), and U.S. Patent 4,996,265 describe
production of micron-sized monodispersed polymer particles by seeded dispersion
polymerization. Polymer seed particles are pre-swelled with large amounts of
monomer prior to seeded polymerization. The swelling is carried out by slow,
continuous, drop-wise addition of water to an ethanol-water mixture containing the
seed particles, monomers, stabilizer and initiator. The addition of water decreases the
solubility of the monomer in the continuous phase, leading to precipitation and
subsequent absorption of monomer onto or into the seed polymer particles. The
monomer absorbed into the seed polymer particle is then polymerized to produce large
monodispersed polymer particles,
B. Partitioning of Water-soluble or Oil-soluble Dyes
Fluorescent particles can be produced by permitting dye molecules to partition
into pre-swollen microparticles according to a technique originally described by L.B.
Bangs (Uniform Latex Particles', Seragen Diagnostics Inc., 1984, p. 40). The process
involves dissolution of a dye molecule or mixture of dye molecules in a solvent or
solvent mixture of choice containing polymer microparticles. Absorption of the solvent
by the microparticles leads to swelling, permitting the microparticles to absorb a
portion of the dye present in the solvent mixture. The staining process is usually
terminated by removing the solvent. The level of dye partitioning is controlled by
adjusting the dye concentration, and in the case of a plurality of dyes, the relative
abundance of individual dyes. Microparticles stained in this manner are quite stable
and uniform, However, in many cases, depending on the choice of solvent system, a
large dye excess is required to attain the desired partitioning, leading to significant loss
of expensive dye material.
US Pat. 5,723,218 to Haugland et al. (1998), U.S. Pat-5,786,219 to Zhang et al.
(1998), US Pat. 5,326,692 to Brinkley et al (1994) and U.S. Pat. 5,573,909 to Singer et
al. (1996) describe protocols for producing various fluorescently-colored particles by
swelling and dye partitioning in organic solvent and organic solvent mixtures. Various
types of fluorescent particles, for example, fluorescent particles containing multiple
dyes, particles exhibiting controllable and enhanced Stokes shifts, and particles
displaying spherical zones of fluorescence, are described.
International patent application WO 99/19515 of Chandler et al (1997)
describes an improved method for the production of a series of ratiometrically-encoded
microspheres with two dyes. A protocol for the production of 64 different encoded
microspheres is reported. A swelling bath composition using a mixture of an organic
solvent and alcohol (under anhydrous conditions) also is disclosed.
' US Pat. 5,266,497 to Matsudo et al. (1993) describes a method for generating a
dye-labeled polymer particle which uses a hydrophobic dye dissolved in an organic
solvent emulsified in water. The dyed particles were used for immunochromatographic
purposes.
US Pat. 4,613,559 to Ober et al. (1986) describes the synthesis of colored
polymer particles using oil-soluble dyes. The disclosed method uses an emulsion of a
dichloromethane dye solution in a water and acetone mixture for coloring the particles.
C. Functionalization of Internal or External Microparticle Surfaces
Production of fluorescent particles by surface functionalization involves the
covalent attachment of one or more dyes to reactive groups on the surface of a
preformed microparticle. This leaves the dye molecules exposed to the environment,
which can hasten the decomposition of the dye. In addition, surface functionalization
often renders a particle surface very hydrophobic, inviting undesirable non-specific
adsorption and, in some cases, loss of activity of biomolecules placed on or near the
particle surface. These problems can be circumvented by attaching a stained small
particle, in lieu of a dye molecule, to the surface of a carrier particle. The efficacy of
this method in generating large sets of encoded particles from a small number of dyes
(ratio encoding) is unclear.
US Pat. 4,487,855 to Shih (1984), US Pat. 5,194,300 to Cheung (1993) and US
Pat. 4,774,189 to Schwartz (1988) disclose methods for preparation of colored or
fluorescent microspheres by covalent attachment of either one or a plurality of dyes to
reactive groups on the preformed particle surface. Battersby et al, "Toward Larger
Chemical Libraries: Encoding with Fluorescent Colloids in Combinatorial Chemistry"
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 2138-2139; Grondahl et al, "Encoding Combinatorial
Libraries : A Novel Application of Fluorescent Silica Colloids", Langmuir 2000, 16,
9709-9715; and US Pat. 6,268,222 to Chandler et al. (2001) describe a method of
producing fluorescent microspheres by attaching to the surface of a carrier
microparticle a set of smaller polymeric particles that are stained.
D. Encapsulation Methods
Formation of fluorescent particles by encapsulation utilizes a solution of a
preformed polymer and one or more dyes. In one approach, the solution is dispensed in
the form of a droplet using a vibrating nozzle or jet, and the solvent is removed to
produce polymer particles encapsulating the dye. This process requires specialized
process equipment and displays only limited throughput. Alternatively, a polymer dye
mixture is emulsified in a high-boiling solvent and the solution is evaporated to yield
polymer-encapsulated dye particles. This process often generates non-spherical
particles with broad size distribution.
US Pat. 3,790,492 to Fulwyler et al. (1974) discloses a method to produce
uniform fluorescent microspheres from a pre-dissolved polymer and dye solution using
a jet. US Pat. 4,717,655 to Fulwyler et al. (1988) discloses a process which includes
two dyes in pre-designated ratios in a polymer microparticle to produce five
distinguishable two-color particles.
The various prior art methods of producing fluorescent microparticles suffer
from certain disadvantages. Where strong swelling solvents are used, the
microparticles must be cross-linked to prevent them from disintegrating and deforming
in the dye solution. This constraint represents a severe limitation since the majority of
dyes require for their dissolution at any reasonable concentration solvent systems in
which most polymer particles of interest, notably polystyrene particles, also will
dissolve. These considerations have restricted the application of solvent swelling in the
prior art to chemically stabilized ("cross-linked") microparticles. This restriction
introduces additional difficulty and cost in microparticle synthesis; highly cross-linked
particles are often very difficult to synthesize. Also, restriction to cross-linked particles
limits the degree of microparticle swelling and .thus the degree of dye incorporation.
Specifically, the application of solvent swelling protocols of the prior art conducted on
cross-linked microparticles generally limits penetration of the dye to the outer layer of
the microparticle, thereby precluding uniform staining of the entire interior volume of
individual particles and generally also precluding the realization of high levels of dye
incorporation. What is needed is a process that can utilize non-cross-linked, as well as
cross-linked, particles. What is needed is a method that will provide dye-loaded noncross-
linked polymer microparticles, which may be used, for example, to prepare
libraries of dyed microparticles having containing different dyes and/or different dye
amounts.
The degree of particle swelling in prior art solvent swelling-based methods of
dye incorporation determines the rate of dye transport into the particles. Diffusion
barriers lead to non-uniform.dye distribution in the microparticles. For this reason,
intense micro-mixing (brought about by either efficient mechanical mixing or by
sonication) is required in order to produce uniformly stained populations of
microparticles. These vigorous mixing procedures, while effective for laboratory scale
preparation, are not easily adapted to larger scales. For example, sonication often
requires specialized equipment such as probe sonicators, and limits the parallel
completion of multiple staining reactions. What is needed is a dyed particle
manufacturing process that requires less vigorous mixing or no mixing, and pennits
parallel staining reactions to be performed.
Microparticles stained by prior art swelling methods are vulnerable to
subsequent exposure to solvents that may cause substantial loss of dye and may
preclude the implementation of protocols providing for multiple sequential dye
incorporation steps.
In the prior art methods, the degree of dye partitioning into the polymer matrix
is controlled by explicit variation of the initial concentration of dye in the dye solution.
This approach, while permitting the realization of multiple, distinct levels of dye
inclusion, suffers from a number of disadvantages. For example, high levels of staining
frequently are not attainable because of the limited solubility of the dye in the bath.
Even when solubility is not an issue, the low partition coefficients of many dyes
requires a large excess of dye in solution introducing the risk of deleterious effects on
subsequent bioanalytical assays. In fact, when carboxylate-modified beads are
prepared by prior, art solvent-swelling methods, the carboxyl function may become
inoperative, and may be no longer available for runctionalization by covalent coupling
to other chemical groups. In addition, valuable dye material is lost in significant
quantities. What is needed is a process for preparing stained microparticles, and
fluorescent microparticles in particular, that achieves dye incorporation even from
poorly soluble dye/solvent formulations. What is needed is a process that allows for
precise control of the solute (dye) loading level in polymer microparticles during the
staining process.
Summary of the Invention
According to one embodiment, a method for modulating the loading of a solute
in polymer microparticles is provided. The method comprises:
(a) providing:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the solute and the microparticle
polymer are soluble;
(ii) at least one second solvent in which the solute and the microparticle
polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said first and second solvents being
immiscible or at most partially miscible;
(iii) at least one third solvent in which the solute and the microparticle
polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with
the first and second solvents;
(b) forming a suspension of said polymer microparticles in a designated volume
of a mixture comprising at least one second solvent and at least one third solvent;
(c) adding to said polymer microparticle suspension a solution comprising a
solute dissolved in said first solvent whereby the solute is taken up by the
microparticles;
(d) controlling the concentration of solute in the polymer microparticles by
controlling in the microparticle suspension, or fraction thereof, the relative
concentrations of the solute and the second solvent such that less than complete
partitioning of the solute from the suspension liquid phase to the microparticles takes
place.
According to one embodiment, the selected second solute concentration is
achieved by adding to the suspension of microparticles characterized by the first solute
loading concentration a selected amount of at least one second solvent. According to
another embodiment, a plurality of microparticle fractions of selected solute
concentrations are provided by dividing the suspension of microparticles into fractions,
and adding selected amounts of the second solvent to the fractions.
According to another embodiment of the invention, a method for modulating the
solute loading of polymer microparticles comprises:
(a) providing:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the solute and the microparticle
polymer are soluble;
(ii) at least one second solvent in which the solute and the microparticle
polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said first and second solvents being
immiscible or at most partially miscible;
(iii) providing at least one third solvent in which the solute and the
microparticle polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being
miscible with the first and second solvents;
(b) forming a suspension of said polymer microparticles in a designated volume
of a mixture comprising at least one second solvent and at least one third solvent;
(c) adding to said polymer microparticle suspension a solution of solute
dissolved in said first solvent whereby the solute is taken up by the microparticles; and
(d) continuously or semi-continuously adding second solvent to the
microparticle suspension to continuously or semi-continuously modulate the
microparticle solute concentration and thereby control the uptake and final
concentration of solute in the microparticles.
In one embodiment of the aforesaid method for modulating the solute loading of
polymer microparticles, the method further comprises the step of removing at least one
portion of said microparticles from the suspension at a time interval during the course
of said second solvent addition to provide at least two microparticle sets which differ in
solute concentration.
In another embodiment, the invention is a method for modulating the dye
loading of polymer microparticles comprising:
(a) providing microparticles characterized by a first concentration of at least one
dye contained in said microparticles, said microparticles suspended in a dye solution
comprising the at least one dye and a solvent system comprising:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the dye and the microparticle
polymer are soluble;
(ii) at least one second solvent in which the dye and the polymer are not
or only weakly soluble, said first and second solvents being immiscible or at
most partially miscible;
(iii) at least one third solvent in which the dye and the polymer are not
or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with the first and
second solvents;
(b) adding to said microparticle suspension a selected amount of the second
solvent to change the amount of the dye partitioning to the polymer microparticles and
the concentration of dye in said microparticles; and
(c) incubating the microparticle suspension for a period of time so that the
amount of dye partitioning to the microparticles, for a given initial dye concentration in
the dye solution, is controlled by the amount of second solvent added to the
microparticle suspension.
In yet another embodiment, the invention is a method of producing dyed
polymer microparticles comprising:
(a) providing:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the dye and the microparticle
polymer are soluble;
(ii) at least one second solvent in which the dye and the microparticle
polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said first and second solvents being
immiscible or at most partially miscible;
(iii) at least one third solvent in which the dye and the microparticle
polymer are not or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with
the first and second solvents;
(b) forming a suspension of said polymer microparticles in a designated volume
of a mixture comprising at least one second solvent and at least one third solvent;
(c) adding to said polymer microparticle suspension a solution comprising the
dye dissolved in said first solvent whereby the dye is taken up by the microparticles to
provide a master-batch suspension of microparticles characterized by a first
concentration of said dye in the microparticles;
(d) creating two or more aliquots from said microparticle master-batch
suspension containing selected added amounts of second solvent to change the amount
of dye partitioning to the polymer microparticles in said aliquots; and
(e) incubating the microparticle suspension aliquots for a period of time so that
the amount of dye partitioning to the microparticles, for a given initial dye
concentration in the dye solution, is controlled by the amount of second solvent added
to the microparticle suspension aliquots.
An automated method for producing dyed polymer microparticles is also
provided. The method comprises:
(a) providing a microparticle master-batch suspension comprising
microparticles characterized by a first dye concentration in the microparticles,
suspended in a dye solution comprising at least one dye and a solvent system
comprising:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the dye and the microparticle
polymer are soluble;
(ii) at least one second solvent in which the dye and the polymer are not
or only weakly soluble, said first and second solvents being immiscible or at
most partially miscible;
(iii) at least one third solvent in which the dye and the polymer are not
or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with the first and
second solvents;
(b) creating two or more microparticle suspension aliquots from said masterbatch
suspension, each such suspension aliquot characterized by microparticles of said
first dye concentration suspended in said dye solution; .
(c) executing, at least once for each created aliquot, the following sequence of
steps to transform the microparticle dye state in each aliquot from said first dye
concentration to a selected second dye concentration:
(i) computing, for the selected second dye concentration:
(1) the amount of dye dissolved in said first solvent, and
(2) the amount of second solvent,
required to be added to said aliquot to attain said selected second
microparticle dye concentration; and

(ii) dispensing to said aliquot the amount of dye dissolved in said first
solvent and the amount of second solvent required to attain said selected second
microparticle dye concentration.
An apparatus for producing dyed polymer microparticles comprises a computer
operatively connected to a pipetting robot, wherein the computer is programmed to
carry out the aforesaid automated method /
The step of creating said two or more microparticle suspension aliquots
containing selected added amounts of second solvent may comprise dividing the
microparticle suspension master-batch into two or more aliquots, and adding selected
amounts of second solvent to said aliquots. Alternatively, the step of creating the two
or more microparticle suspension aliquots containing selected added amounts of second
solvent may comprise continuously or semi-continuously adding second solvent to the
microparticle suspension master-batch and removing at least one portion of the masterbatch
at a time interval during the course of the second solvent addition. The result is
the formation of two or more microparticle suspension aliquots containing selected
added amounts of second solvent.
Description of the Figures
Fig. l(a) is a schematic representation of a ternary solvent solution for use in the
present invention.
Fig, l(b) is a diagram of the sequence of steps of an embodiment of the
invention.
Fig 2 is a three-dimensional plot of the level of dye incorporation into polymer
microparticles in a solvent bath according to the present invention as a function of three
variables. (X) is the mass of dye in the bath (represented as the concentration of the
dye, C(s), multiplied by the volume of the dye. added to the bath, V(s)) divided by the
volume of the microparticles, V(p). (Y) is the volume fraction of the microparticles in
the bath, (p), divided by the volume fraction of solvent, (s). (Z) is the concentration of
dye contained in the microparticles, C(p). Thus, the (Z) axis represents the mass of dye
partitioned into the microparticle divided by the microparticle volume. The volume
fraction of the particles, (p), is given by the equation ^ = (1- (s)). Line (P0) in plane
(X,Z) represents dye partitioning as a function of X into microparticles in the absence
of tuning solvent. Line (Pi) represents dye partitioning into microparticles as a function
of the mass of dye in the bath (X) in the presence of a volume fraction, $, of tuning
solvent.
Fig. 3(a) is a schematic diagram of a parallel processing embodiment of the
invention for producing n sub-populations (Fn(Sn)) of fiuorescently stained
microparticles, from n solvent system/microparticle suspensions Bn. Each suspension
contains a designated amount Sn of tuning solvent.
Fig. 3(b) is a schematic diagram of a serial processing embodiment of the
invention for producing n sub-populations of fiuorescently stained microparticles from
a single reaction. [B] Represents a pre-incubated master-batch of solvent
system/microparticle suspension, to which a continuous stream of tuning solvent is fed,
Fn(Sn) represent fractions of the microparticle suspension removed from the masterbatch
at times t = tpn. The fractions contain Sn amounts of tuning solvent.
Fig 3(c) is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of the invention for
producing n sub-populations .Fn(Sn) of fiuorescently stained microparticles by a
combination of series and parallel processing. [B] Represents a pre-incubated masterbatch
of solvent system/microparticle suspension to which a known amount of tuning
solvent, S(tp), is fed. The master-batch is then split into n different aliquots, Bn, to
which n different designated amounts of tuning solvent, 8Sn, are added.
Fig 3(d) is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of the invention for
producing mxn sub-populations Fm(Sm, Dn) of fiuorescently stained microparticles by
serial followed by parallel processing, using a combination of solvent tuning and dye
addition. Sm denotes the amounts of tuning solvent, and Dn the amounts of fluorescent
dye, added to the various sub-populations Fm(Sm, Dn).
Fig. 4 is a plot of the fluorescence of the collection of particles prepared
according to Example 1, below.
Fig. 5. is a plot of the fluorescence of the collection of particles prepared
according to Example 2, below.
Fig. 6(a) is a • fluorescence calibration curve plotting the intensity of
fluorescence at emission wavelength 512 nm versus dye concentration for the green
fluorescent dye 4)4-difluoro-5,7-dimethyl-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene-3-pentanoic
acid, succinimidyl ester, dissolved in ethanol.
Fig. 6(b) is a plot of the variation of the calculated amount of green fluorescent
dye entrapped in particles as a function of the water volume fraction utilized in
preparing the particles of Examples 3-6.
Fig. 6(c) is a plot of the variation of the calculated amount of green fluorescent
dye entrapped in particles as a function of the green fluorescent dye intensity for the
particles of Examples 3-6.
Fig 6 (d) is plot of the variation of the partition coefficient of the green
fluorescent dye as a function of Y (where, Y - (1- sVs).
Fig.7 is a. plot of the fluorescence of the collection of particles prepared
according to Example 26.
Fig. 8 is a plot of the fluorescence emitted by the particles produced according
to Example 30.
Fig. 9 is a plot of the fluorescence emitted by the particles produced according
to Example 31.
Detailed Description of the Invention
The distribution of a solute between two immiscible phases designated / and 2
is governed by the partition coefficient, K, which represents the ratio of the equilibrium
amounts of solute (N) in the two phases, that is, K = [Ni/Na].
The present invention provides methods to tune the partition coefficient, K,
governing the distribution of a solute between two substantially immiscible phases, that
is, distribution between a liquid continuous phase and a dispersed solid phase
comprising solid particles dispersed in the liquid continuous phase. Thus, the invention
provides for the controlled introduction of solutes into polymer microparticles in
solvent systems. The solute may comprise any material which may be partitioned to
the polymer microparticle phase, such as dyes, pigments, drugs, catalysts,
nanoparticles, or any other useful material for which loading onto or into a polymer
microparticle is desired.
In a preferred embodiment, the solute is a dye, and the invention is illustrated
hereinafter by the partition of dye (solute), between two substantially immiscible
phases, namely a population of preformed polymer microparticle (phase 1) and a
homogeneous ternary solvent mixture (phase 2). The microparticles comprise a solid
phase. The solvent mixture comprises a liquid phase. The dye may be any substance
capable of imparting a desired color or desired fluorescence to a polymer microparticle.
Thus, the dye may comprise a chromophore or a fluorophore, The amount of dye
incorporated in the microparticles is precisely controlled by tuning, for given initial dye
concentration, the composition of the ternary solvent mixture. As illustrated below, the
method is capable of producing populations of distinguishable dye-stained
microparticles containing reproducible pre-determined levels of dye, i.e. "dye
encoding", with minimal intra-sample variation of dye content.
The method of the present invention thus introduces solvent composition as a
novel control parameter for the preparation of stained microparticles by providing for
the quantitative adjustment, over a wide range, of the partition coefficient governing the
distribution of dye between dye bath and microparticles. Specifically, the partition
coefficient, K, of the dye under solvent tuning obeys the following relation: K = a
exp(bY), where Y = (1- s )/ s; •j's denotes the volume fraction of the solvent; and (a)
and (b) are constants.
Dye encoding according to the present invention results from varying the dye
loading of the particles. By "loading" with respect to the dye contained in a
microparticle is meant the amount and/or character of the dye incorporated into the
microparticle. The loading can thus vary by at least one property selected from the (i)
amount of incorporated dye and (ii) the identity of incorporated dye. Encoding may
thus take the form of varying the amount of a single dye as between different sets of
microparticle, varying the chemical nature of the dye (using different dyes, or different
combinations of dyes), or both.
A homogenous ternary solvent mixture according to the present invention for
the preparation of dyed microparticles, particularly fluorescently dyed microparticles, is
schematically illustrated in Fig. l(a). Solvent #1 is a strong solvent for both the dye
and the polymer from which the microparticle is formed. Solvent #2, also referred to
herein as the "tuning solvent", is a weak solvent or non-solvent for the dye and the
polymer. In a preferred embodiment, Solvent #2 is an aqueous solvent, preferably
water. Solvents #1 and #2 are either immiscible or partially miscible with respect to
each other. A third solvent, Solvent #3, is a weak solvent or non-solvent for the dye
and polymer, but serves as a co-solvent with respect to Solvents #1 and #2 in that it is
miscible with both Solvents #1 and #2. In a preferred embodiment, Solvent #3 is an
alcohol.
The prior art "swelling" methods of microparticle dye incorporation are limited
by the narrow range of choices of available solvents for dyes of interest, generally
requiring the use of cross-linked particles. These prior art methods involve identifying
a solvent of choice in which the dye is soluble over a range of concentrations, and
preparing a dye solution of desired concentration. Then, the dye solution is contacted
with the polymer microparticles for a period of time so as to permit the dye to penetrate
into in the microparticles.
Prior art swelling methods of fluorescent particle production suffer from limited
dye solubility in the dye bath. Even when dye solubility is not an issue, the low
partition coefficient of many dyes for the polymer requires a large excess of valuable
fluorescent dye, which is lost. In contrast, the present invention produces
microparticles of very high dye content, even from poorly soluble dye/solvent
formulations. This aspect of the invention reflects the fact that the dye in the bath may
be completely depleted by solvent tuning.
In contrast to prior art solvent swelling based methods, the dye incorporation
method of the present invention may be used with equal efficacy for the dyeing of noncross-
linked as well as cross-linked particles. By "cross-linked" as describing a
polymer comprising a microparticle is meant a polymer in which chains are joined
together to form a three-dimensional network structure. Cross-linking can be carried
out during the polymerization process by use of a cross-linking agent, that is, an agent
which has two or more groups capable of reacting with functional groups on the
polymer chain. Cross-linked polymers may also be prepared by the polymerization of
monomers with an average functionality greater than two.
The invention thus provides, for the first time, dye-loaded microparticles that
are composed of a non-cross-linked polymer. This is a significant improvement
because highly cross-linked particles are often very difficult to synthesize.
Furthermore, unlike many prior art particle-dyeing methods that rely on intense mixing
to achieve uniformity in dye staining of the microparticles, the present method requires
only mild agitation. The mild agitation is required merely to keep the particles
suspended. This is a significant improvement over prior art methods because the
intense mixing of those methods requires specialized equipment and is difficult to scale
up.
Polymer cross-linking generally restrains swelling of microparticles formed
from cross-linked polymers, and also prevents penetration of the dye into the particle.
As a result, the dye is restricted to a thin outer layer of the microparticle, and limits the
dye loading. The ability to utilize non-cross-linked polymers as the microparticle
material allows, for the first time, the production of dyed polymer microparticles that
are characterized by a substantially uniform dye distribution throughout the volume of
the microparticle. By "substantially uniform" is meant that the stained particle
produces a symmetric and unimodal fluorescent intensity profile under conditions of
fluorescent imaging. In contrast, a surface-stained particle (where the fluorescent agent
is confined to the surface, or to a shallow region close to the surface) produces a
symmetric but bimodal fluorescent intensity profile.
In some circumstances, it may be desirable to obtain a controlled non-uniform
dye distribution in the microparticle. Less than complete dye penetration can be
achieved by removing the microparticle from the staining bath before .the microparticle
phase dye has.reached equilibrium with the liquid phase dye. The extent of dye
penetration is determined by the microparticles' incubation time in the staining bath.
Removal of the particles from the bath prior to equilibration results in a symmetric but
bimodal fluorescent intensity profile. The shape of the particle fluorescence intensity
profile, in particular the location of intensity peaks, is. a function of the preequilibration
incubation time. Thus, microparticle incubation time in the staining bath
provides a further dimension for microparticle encoding. Microparticle sets of varied
fluorescence intensity profiles may be produced, using the same dye but by varying the
microparticle incubation times in the staining bath. Multiple dyes may be utilized to
provide even greater encoding,
According to the present invention, the amount of dye incorporated into the
microparticles is controlled by adjusting the ratio of dye with respect to polymer, and
by adjusting the composition of the dye bath. In particular, and in contrast to prior art
methods, the volume fraction of one constituent of the ternary solvent system, namely
the tuning solvent, is conveniently varied so as to control the partitioning of the dye
between the solvent and the polymer comprising the microparticles. Unlike prior art
methods, the invention provides considerably greater flexibility in dye selection and
solvent system formulation. Considerably greater control of dye partitioning is
achieved using a multi-constituent solvent system. As elaborated below, the method of
the invention takes advantage of an exponential dependence of the partition coefficient
K on solvent composition and thereby attains greater control of dye incorporation than
is achievable by the prior art "swelling' methods. Rather than tuning the partition
coefficient, prior art methods simply vary the initial dye concentration in the bath, and
thereby achieve a proportional variation in the dye content of the microparticle (the
proportionality constant being the partition coefficient K).
Fig. 2 contrasts the solvent tuning method of the present invention in the context
of varying dye partitioning into polymer microparticles with the swelling method of the
prior art. Points Xi(1), X2
(1) and X3(1), each represent the mass of dye in the solvent
system divided by the volume of the microparticles contained in the system. Points
Zi , Z2 and Z^ each represent the corresponding concentration of dye incorporated
into microparticles The level of dye incorporation into the microparticles is linearly
relate'd (line P0) to the mass of dye in the solvent system, the slope of the line being a
function of the partition coefficient K. It will thus be appreciated that the prior art
solvent-swelling methods confine the trajectories available for the preparation of
stained microparticles to the XZ plane. Multiple sub-populations of dyed
microparticles are obtained only by explicitly varying the solvent bath initial dye
concentration (for a given number of microparticles to be stained) to produce a
corresponding proportional variation in the level of dye incorporated into loading of the
particles.
In contrast, the present invention introduces solvent composition as a new
variable to control the process of producing a multiplicity of stained microparticles. It
may be appreciated from a consideration of Fig. 2 that the present invention provides
for an entire additional dimension of parameter space (Y) for the preparation of stained
microparticles by permitting trajectories within a 3-d parameter space (XYZ). For
example, starting from the compositions Zi(l), Z2
(l) and Z3
(n , distinct particle subpopulations
displaying well-defined and predictable levels of dye incorporation Z|(2),
Zz(2), Z3
(2) are prepared by following the non-linear operating curves shown in Fig. 2.
At any fixed solvent composition (fixed Y) Z and X are related to each other in a linear
fashion (line OP|, for a solvent composition with the volume fraction of tuning solvent
= 40.
Accordingly, any point in the three-dimensional parameter space XYZ of Fig. 2
may be approached along a multiplicity of trajectories. In turn, each trajectory permits
the preparation of multiple sub-populations of stained microparticles in a predictable
manner. The methods of the present invention, by operating in a regime governed by
thermodynamic equilibrium and providing quantitative expressions for these
trajectories, permit the rational design of protocols for the preparation of multiple subpopulations
of stained particles.
Without wishing to be bound by any theory, the operation of the present
invention for controlling the partitioning of a solute (dye) between a liquid continuous
phase and a dispersed solid phase (microparticles) may be described by the following
mathematical relationships.
The equation Z = G(X, Y) governs the transformation of the system from a first
state, {X], Yi, Zj} to a desired second state {X2, Y2, Z2}, wherein the concentration of
the solute (dye) in the dispersed (microparticle) phase (Z) is a function of the
concentration of solute (X) and solvent composition (Y), The desired second state {X2,
Y2, Z2} is selected from a multiplicity of possible such second states accessible from
the given first state, by adjusting X and Y in a prescribed fashion in accordance with
the equation Z = G(X, Y). The relationship is governed by the variables (X), (Y) and
(Z), which are defined as follows:
wherein:
(S) = (1-(P)) = volume fraction of the solvent phase
C(S) = concentration of solute in solution phase at equilibrium
C(p) = concentration of solute in particle phase at equilibrium
V(p) = volume of particle phase
V(s) = volume of solvent phase.
The distribution of the solute (dye) between the particle phase (P) and the solvent phase
(S) is governed by the partition coefficient, K:
K={N(P)/N(S)}
wherein N(P) is the number of solute molecules in the particle phase at equilibrium, and
N(s) is the number of solute molecules in the solvent phase at equilibrium.
Thus, the value of the partition coefficient K in state 1 is given as
and the value of the partition coefficient K in state 2 is given as
K2 = N(P)
2/N(Applying the following mass balance equations,
NTi = Nrz for the total amount of solute (1)
N (p)i + N(s)i + AN(S)i= NT, for the total number of solute in state 1 (2)
.N(P)2 + N(S)
2 = NT2 . for the total number of solute in state 2 (3)
wherein NTj is the total amount (number) of solute molecules in state i, and AN^j is the
number of additional solute molecules added to the solvent phase in state / , results in
the following iterative equations:
X2 = {(l+K,)/(l+Ka)}X, + {l/(l+Kj)}AX, (4)
Y2=Yi+AY, (5)
(6)
In the special case of maintaining the variable Y constant, that is, transforming state 1
into state 2 solely by addition of solute so that KI = K.2, the following equation is
obtained:
(7)
Further, the dependence of Z on X and Y is obtained in the form Z = K(Y)X. The
dependence of the partition coefficient, K, on Y reflects the fact that addition of tuning
solvent to the solvent phase diminishes the capacity of solvent to dissolve the solute
and therefore causes redistribution of solute into the available dispersed phase.
Specifically, experimental data and analysis support the following functional formula:
K = a exp(bY) (8)
where a and b are constants determined from the analysis of data such as those
presented in Fig. 6d.
Accordingly, the present invention provides an explicit set of prescriptions to
effect the desired state transformation. Specifically, an entire series of second states
may be produced by transformation of a single first state.
The above transformation equations, particularly in their iterative form as
provided herein, facilitate the automated production of collections of dye-modified
microparticles using a personal computer and a standard automated pipetting
instrument ("robot") to dispense requisite metered aliquots of dye or other solute as
well as tuning solvent. A software application, developed in any standard
programming language such as BASIC or C, is used to evaluate the iterative
transformation equations. The program computes requisite aliquots of dye and tuning
solvent. The pipetting robot is accordingly controlled to meter and dispense these
requisite aliquots using a standard laboratory instrument control interface such as a
GPIB protocol and a standard software development environment such as LabView
(National Instruments). For example, using a master batch as disclosed herein, sets of
stained microparticles are readily prepared by such a system by executing the steps of
dispensing one or more aliquots of the master batch to produce a first state of the
suspension, computing requisite amounts of dye and dye solvent to attain a desired
second state of the suspension, dispensing said requisite amounts of solute and dye
solvents, and permitting the transformation to occur. These steps are repeated as
desired.
Dyeing of functional group-modified microparticles by prior art selling methods
may adversely affect the integrity of the functional group. As demonstrated by
Example 28, below, functional group-modified particles may be dyed according to the
practice of the present invention without loss of functional group integrity.
It may be appreciated that one of ordinary skill in the art may utilize readily
available information to select microparticle chemistries, solvents and dyes in
accordance with the solubility parameters described herein, for practicing the present
invention.
It will also be apparent from the description of the process of the invention that
any polymer may be used to provide the polymer particles provided a stable dispersion
of the polymer particles is available or can be made. The material may comprise a
homopolymer or copolymer, the latter term meant to include not only polymers formed
of two monomer units, but also polymers formed of three or more monomer units,
sometimes termed "terpolymers". Hydrophobic polymers are preferred. Polymers
comprising monomers of the vinyl class, that is, monomers containing the vinyl group,
are particularly preferred, most particularly the styrene group. One group of preferred
polymers includes polystyrene or polystyrene copolymers containing from about 50%
to about 100% by weight styrene monomer units. The polymer optionally may be
cross-linked or uncross-linked. In one embodiment, the microparticle is formed of
polystyrene cross-linked with 1% divinylbenzene, based on the weight of the
microparticle. In another embodiment, the microparticle comprises styrene/methacrylic
acid copolymer containing from about 0.6 to about 1% methacrylic acid, based on the
weight of the microparticle.
Suitable polymeric materials include, by way of example and not by way of
limitation, polymers of the following monomers:
acrylic acid, or any ester thereof, such as methyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, propyl
acrylate, butyl acrylate, 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate or glycidyl acrylate;
methacrylic acid, or any ester thereof, such as methyl methacrylate, ethyl
methacrylate, propyl methacrylate, butyl methacrylate, lauryl mathacrylate, cetyl
methacrylate, stearyl mathacrylate, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate, tetraethylene glycol
dimethacrylate, glycidyl methacrylate or N,N-(methacryloxy hydroxy propyl)-
(hydroxy alkyl) amino ethyl amidazolidinone;
allyl esters such as allyl methacrylate;
itaconic acid, or ester thereof;
crotonic acid, or ester thereof;
maleic acid, or ester thereof, such as dibutyl maleate, dioctyl maleate, dioctyl
maleate or diethyl maleate;
styrene, or substituted derivatives thereof such as ethyl styrene, butyl styrene or
divinyl benzene;
monomer units which include an amine functionality, such as dimethyl amino
ethyl methacrylate or butyl amino ethyl methacrylate;
monomer units which include an amide functionality, such as acrylamide or
methacrylamide;
vinyl-containing monomers such as vinyl ethers; vinyl thioethers; vinyl
alcohols; vinyl ketones; vinyl halides, such as vinyl chlorides; vinyl esters, such as
vinyl acetate or vinyl versatate; vinyl nitriles, such as acrylonitrile or methacrylonitrile;
vinylidene halides, such as vinylidene chloride and vinylidene fluoride;
tetrafluoroethylene;
diene monomers, such as butadiene and isoprene; and
allyl ethers, such as allyl glycidyl ether.
Particularly preferred homopolymers and copolymers comprising vinylcontaining
monomers include polystyrene, poly(methyl methacrylate), polyacrylamide,
poly(ethylene glycol), poly(hydroxyethylmethacrylate), poly(vinyltoluene) and
poly(divinylbenzene).
Suitable polymeric materials may include, by way of example and not by way
of limitation the following polymers: polyoxides, such as poly(ethylene oxide) and
poly(propylene oxide); polyesters, such as poly(ethylene terepthalate); polyurethane;
polysulfonate; polysiloxanes, such as poly(dimethyl siloxane); polysulfide;
polyacetylene; polysulfone; polysulfonamide; polyamides such as polycaprolactam and
poly(hexamethylene adipamide); polyimine; polyurea; heterocyclic polymers such as
polyvinylpyridine and polyvinyl pyrrolidinone; naturally occurring polymers such as
natural rubber, gelatin, cellulose; polycarbonate; polyanhydride; and polyalkenes such
as polyethylene, polypropylene and ethylene-propylene copolymer.
The polymeric material may contain functional groups such as carboxylates,
esters, amines, aldehydes, alcohols, or halides that provide sites for the attachment of
chemical or biological moieties desirable to enhance the utility of the particles in
chemical or biological analyses. Methods for preparing microparticles from such
polymers are well known in the art. Representative procedures for preparing
microparticles as well as cross-linked microparticles are set forth in the Preparative
Examples, below.
The methods of the present invention also may be applied to the staining of
core-shell microparticles. Core-shell microparticles comprise a central core of one or
more core polymers and a shell of one or more shell polymers containing the core. The
polymer shell may be formed by any polymer-coating technique. Core-shell
morphology is thermodynamically favored if the shell-forming polymer exhibits higher
polarity, or lower interfacial tension than does the core-forming polymer. Core-shell
morphology also is favored if the volume fraction of the shell-forming polymer is
greater than that of the core-forming polymer. Thus, synthesis of core-shell particles is
performed at a shell/core weight ratio greater than 1. In certain embodiments, the core
polymer is hydrophobic and the shell polymer is relatively hydrophilic and carries
functional groups of interest.
Copolymers of styrene and a monomer more hydrophilic than styrene (e.g.,
methacrylic acid) are preferred for the core polymer over polystyrene homopolymer.
The comonomer serves to decrease the hydrophobicity of the core and to render it more
compatible with the hydrophilic shell polymerization compositions.
Within these constraints, any monomer or combination of monomers may be
selected as the shell polymer. A mixture of vinyl monomers is preferred. According to
one embodiment of the invention, a monomer mixture of methyl methacrylate as the
major constituent, and hydroxyethyl methacrylate and methacrylic acid as minor
constituents, is used to form a shell over a polystyrene or modified polystyrene core.
One such monomer mixture is composed of, by weight, .about 6% hydroxyethyl
methacrylate, from about 5% to about 20 % methacrylic acid, the balance being methyl
methacrylate. These monomers are more hydrophilic than polystyrene.
Microparticle size may be chosen appropriately for the intended end use.
Typically, particles will range in size from about 0.1 to about 100 microns in diameter,
more typically from about 0.5 to about 50 microns, even more typically from about 2 to
about 10 microns. Preferably, the microparticles are "monodisperse", that is,
microparticles in a set have a narrow size range, preferably displaying a coefficient of
variation of the mean diameter ("CV") of no more than about 5%.
Microparticles may be rendered magnetically responsive by incorporation of an
appropriate magnetic material, before or after staining, according to well-known
procedures. According to one such method, particles are impregnated with a ferrofluid,
such as a ferro fluid prepared according to Example 19. By "magnetically responsive"
is meant the ability to change location or orientation in response to application of a
magnetic field.
The dye may comprise any dye that imparts a visual or machine-observable
color or fluorescence. The color or fluorescence may be detectable with the naked eye
or with the aid of a microscope or other optical instrument. The preferred fluorescent
dyes are styryl dyes, such as p-bis(o-methylstyryl)benzene; pyromethane dyes such as
fluorescent green dye 4,4-difluoro-5,7-dimethyl-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene-3-
pentanoic acid, succinimidyl ester and the fluorescent orange dye 4,4-difluoro-5-(2-
thienyl)-4-bora-3a,4a-diazo-s-indacene-3-propionic acid-succinimidyl ester; and
coumarin dyes such as methoxycoumarin. Preferred are those fluorescent dyes having
emission wavelengths in the range from about 400 nm to about 1000 nm. When more
than one dye is used, the dyes can be selected so that they have substantially different
absorption spectra, emission spectra or emission lifetimes.
According to one embodiment, the microparticle comprises a polystyrene
polymer or copolymer and the dye is a hydrophobic dye. Possible solvents are selected,
for example, from Table. 1.
Table 1: Candidate solvents for polystyrene microparticle and hydrophobic
dye combination
(Table Removed)
A representative system utilizing a polar, water-soluble dye is composed of
poly(ethylene oxide) microparticles in a ternary solvent system comprising water as
Solvent #1; hexane as Solvent #2; and dioxane as Solvent #3.
From the solvents listed in the above table and a standard solvent miscibility
chart, several ternary solvent systems may be designed for a combination of
polystyrene polymer or copolymer and hydrophobic dye in accordance with the present
invention. For example, a hydrophobic dye solute may be dissolved in a liquid phase
consisting of a homogeneous ternary mixture of water (tuning solvent, Solvent #2),
alcohol (co-solvent, Solvent #3) and dichloromethane (dye solvent, Solvent #1) and
contacted with a solid polymeric phase consisting of polystyrene or polystyrene
copolymer microparticles. The dye partition coefficient, K, governing the relative
abundance of dye in the polymeric phase vs. that in the ternary solvent mixture,
increases as the volume fraction of tuning solvent in the liquid phase increases, and
correspondingly decreases as the volume fractions of dye solvent or cosolvent
decreases). In addition to the water/alcohol/dichloromethane ternary system disclosed,
Other representative ternary systems include, for example, water/acetone/methylene
chloride.
The invention has been described for purposes of illustration as containing one
each of Solvent #1, Solvent #2 and Solvent #3, the characteristics of which have been
described above. However, it is possible to practice the invention by including more
than one solvent in each category. For example, the solvent mixture may contain a
single solvent of type #1, two solvents of type #2, and a single solvent of type #3.
The microparticles of the invention may be functionalized to include chemical
or biological entities such as, for example, nucleic acids and fragments thereof,
including aptamers, proteins, peptides, and small organic molecules. The attachment of
such molecules can be performed using processes known in the art, for example, a
covalent coupling reaction. See, e.g., G. T. Hermanson, Bioconjugate Techniques
(Academic Press, 1996) and L. Ilium, P. D. E. Jones, Methods in Enzymology 112, 67-
84 (1985), the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference. These
entities can be selected depending on the assay of interest. Examples of such assays are
disclosed in PCT/US01/20179 and U.S. Patent No. 6,251,691, which are incorporated
herein by reference in their entirety.
One embodiment of the method of the invention is diagrammatically
summarized in Fig. l(b). Microparticles are first incubated with a solvent solution
comprising Solvent #2 and Solvent #3 in the presence of optional stabilizers to form a
suspension. The function of the stabilizer is to prevent the destabilization of the
suspension of microparticles. Representative stabilizers include polymers, particularly
polymeric alcohols, such as polyvinyl alcohol; polymeric oxides, such as polyethylene
oxide; polyvinyl polymers, such as polyvinylpyrrolidone; poly acids, such as
polyacrylic acid. Other representative stabilizers include ionic surfactants, such as
sodium dodecylsulfate and Aerosol OT; and non-ionic surfactants, such as
polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate and polyethyleneglycol tert-octylphenyl ether.
The concentration of the stabilizer may range from about 0% to about 2%, by weight of
the solvent/microparticle suspension.
The suspension is preferably subjected to slow agitation. The incubation is
typically conducted at room temperature, but higher or lower temperatures may be
utilized so long as the integrity of the microparticles is not adversely affected, and the
solvent composition remains stable. The incubation is conducted to permit the optional
stabilizer to adsorb onto the microparticles. The requisite pre-incubation time will vary
according to the composition of the solvents and microparticles, and may be selected
accordingly.
Following the above first incubation step, dye solubilized in dye solvent
(Solvent #1) is then added to the microparticle suspension. Sufficient dye should be
added to ensure incorporation of dye to the desired level in order to generate a
detectable dye signal. The incubation is carried typically out at room temperature, but
higher or lower temperatures may be used. The second incubation is conducted to
permit the dye solvent (Solvent #1) to penetrate the microparticles.
It has been found that the combination of a first step of incubating particles with
a mixture of a Solvent #2 and a Solvent #3, and optional stabilizers(s), followed by a
second step of adding dye dissolved in Solvent #1, substantially decreases the need for
intense mechanical or acoustic mixing during the dyeing step, as required by prior art
protocols. The particles require only mild agitation during the dyeing process in order
to keep them suspended. This is a significant improvement because intense mixing
requires specialized equipment and is difficult to scale up.
According to one embodiment, the concentration of dye in the microparticle
suspension is selected in the range from about 1 jag/g of particles to about 100 jag/g of
particles, based upon the weight of the particle suspension. Concentrations below and
above this range may be appropriate in some applications depending on the
composition of the solvent solution and microparticles.
An amount of tuning solvent is then slowly added to favor partitioning of dye
into the microparticles, while the suspension is slowly agitated. The volume fraction,
, of tuning solvent is selected so as to attain a desired endpoint composition along a
trajectory in Fig. 2.
The tuning solvent should be added at a controlled rate to maintain phase
stability in the suspension. By "phase stability" is meant a condition characterized by
the presence of an essentially homogeneous mixture of solute (dye) and liquid phase.
.Under a condition of phase stability, the dye remains dissolved in the solution phase
while being incorporated into the microparticles. The dye does not precipitate out of
the solvent. Phase stability is further characterized by the absence of liquid-liquid
phase separation.
According to prior art methods, complete uptake of the dye into the
microparticle phase must be obtained so that the dye loading of the microparticles may
be derived with certainty, based upon the initial dye amount in the solvent bath and the
microparticle volume. In such methods, the precise level of dye loading should be
known to ensure that the dye signal emitted is within the dynamic range of instruments
utilized for detecting that signal. An accurate determination of the dye loading is
particularly important when a library of particles is to be constructed, and different
particle sets are to be distinguished by different loadings of the same dye. Thus, the
level of dye incorporation must be monitored until no more dye is apparent in the
suspension continuous phase, signaling that substantially all the dye introduced into the
system has been take up. by the microparticle phase.
According to the present invention, the amount of dye incorporated into the
microparticles is precisely controlled by modulating the amount of tuning solvent
added to the microparticle suspension, as determined by the iterative equations
discussed above. A pre-selected level of dye loading may be delivered with certainty,
even in the absence of complete partitioning of the dye into the microparticle phase.
By "complete partitioning" with respect to a solute (e.g., dye) is meant the state
characterized by essentially complete uptake of the solute from the liquid phase to the
microparticle phase, and the essentially complete absence of dye from the liquid phase.
Thus, it is not necessary to monitor the status of dye migration from the liquid phase of
the microparticle suspension into the microparticle phase to ensure that all dye in the
system has been taken up by the microparticles, as complete dye uptake is not critical to
the control of the dye loading.
The suspension of microparticles in the staining bath should be incubated for a
period of time so as to provide substantially uniform partitioning of dye into the
microparticles.
To complete the process, the microparticle suspension is centrifuged, and the
microparticles are optionally washed and resuspended in a suitable buffer, typically an
aqueous buffer containing optional surfactants. The resulting microparticles comprise a
set of dyed particles containing a pre-determined, specific amount of dye that permits
the identification of particles from a given set.
According to one embodiment, sub-populations of polymer microparticles
containing different levels of incorporated dye may be produced in parallel fashion.
Pre-calculated amounts of tuning solvent are added to separate aliquots of microparticle
suspension pre-incubated in dye solution. In accordance with the present invention, the
level of dye partitioning into the microparticles is determined by the final volume
fraction of tuning solvent and the initial dye concentration in the suspension. This
approach is illustrated in Figure 3 (a), where the various .pre-incubated aliquots are
denoted as Bn. The respective amounts of tuning solvent introduced into each aliquot
are represented as Sn, and the corresponding resulting sub-populations of particles in
each batch are denoted as Fn(Sn).
According to another embodiment of the invention, sub-populations of polymer
microparticles containing different levels of dye are produced in a serial fashion. From
a master-batch microparticle suspension in dye solution, aliquots are withdrawn at
different elapsed times during continuous or semi-continuous addition of the tuning
solvent to the microparticle suspension in dye solution. In "semi-continuous" addition
of tuning solvent, the process is momentarily interrupted, for example, to permit the
operation of removing a sample of microparticles from the batch. Fractions of the
suspension Fn(Sn)collected at successive elapsed times (tpn), contain correspondingly
differing amounts of solvent Sn and yield multiple sub-populations of stained particles
from the same master batch. These sub-populations corresponding to levels of dye
incorporation will produce correspondingly differing fluorescence intensities. This
approach is illustrated in Fig. 3(b) wherein [B] denotes the pre-incubated master-batch,
to which a continuous stream of the tuning solvent is fed. Fn(Sn) are the fractions of the
microparticle suspension collected from the master-batch at successive lapsed times,
tpn, respectively.
Alternatively, when a specified time (if) has lapsed, the continuous addition of
tuning solvent is interrupted, and'the suspension of dyed microparticles is divided into
two or more aliquots for adjustment of final dye content by solvent tuning. A selected
amount of tuning solvent (8Sn) is added to each aliquot so as to produce different levels
of dye incorporation in at least two aliquots, each said level being determined by the
total amount of tuning solvent added during solvent tuning and to the initial dye
concentration. It may be appreciated that the selected amount of tuning solvent added
to each aliquot may comprise zero in one or more aliquots, provided that a non-zero
amount of tuning solvent is added to at least one of the aliquots. This serial-followedby-
parallel processing approach is illustrated in Fig. 3(c).
Other variations of serial and parallel processing are possible. Fig. 3(d)
illustrates a process combining serial and parallel processing, employing both solvent
tuning and direct adjustment of dye concentration. As shown in Figure 3(d), a
continuous stream of tuning solvent is fed into master-batch [B], Fractions of
microparticle suspension Fn(Sn), respectively containing Sn amounts of the tuning
solvent, are collected. Each fraction is then subjected to a separate labeling step,
initiated, for example, by addition of a third dye, Dn, permitting discrimination of
microparticles in previously identical aliquots. The labeling steps respectively
involving dyes DI, D2, ... Dn produce distinguishable sub-populations Fm(Sm, Dn) from
each aliquot.
Microparticles from each aliquot comprise a set of particles containing a predetermined,
specific amount of one or more fluorophores (or chromophores) permitting
the identification of particles from a given set.
The method of the present invention may be adapted to provide a library of
combinatorially encoded microparticles by sequential addition of solutions of
distinguishable fluorescent dyes. The microparticles are encoded in accordance with
any one of a variety of available codes, including binary codes. Preferably, the
microparticles are encoded with a binary encoding method that permits in-situ
decoding, such as the method of WO 98/53093, the entire disclosure of which is
incorporated herein by reference.
The practice of the invention is illustrated by the following non-limiting
examples.
Preparative Example 1: Non-cross-linked polystyrene homopolymer particles
A lOQ-ml round bottom glass flask, equipped with a reflux condenser, N2 inletoutlet
adapter and an agitator, was placed in a jacketed oil bath. The flask was charged
with a solution of 0.9475 g of polyvinylpyrolidone (Aldrich, average molecular weight
about 29, 000) in 43.3 ml of ethyl alcohol (Aldrich, 200 proof, anhydrous, 99.5 %) and
18.95 g styrene. In order to remove free oxygen, the system was purged with N2 for
one half hour under mild agitation (50-70 rpm). Then, the temperature was raised to
70°C and the agitator speed to 350 rpm. Polymerization of styrene monomer was
initiated by adding 10 ml of a solution of 2.4 wt % 2,2'-azobisisobutyronitrile in
ethanol. After 17 hours of reaction, the system was cooled to room temperature.
Monodisperse polystyrene particles having a volume average diameter of 4.1 um were
obtained. The monomer conversion efficiency was 96. 4 % and the solids content of
the final latex was 27.9 %.
Preparative Example 2: Non-cross-linked copolymer particles
The same procedure as Preparative Example 1 was used to prepare a polystyrene
copolymer containing 3% methacrylic acid, by reacting 10.5 g of a mixture of styrene
and methacrylic acid monomers (3 wt.% methacrylic acid monomer, based upon the
total monomer weight). Monodisperse particles were obtained. The final conversion
was 95.7%, particle diameter 3.2 pm, and the latex contained 15.9 % solids. The
copolymer particle had a parking area of 2.45 jamVCOOH group.
Preparative Example 3: Cross-linked copolymer particles
A 100-ml round bottom flask equipped with a reflux condenser, N2 inlet-outlet adapter,
and agitator was placed in a jacketed oil bath. The flask was charged with 1'.5 g of
polyvinylpyrolidone (as in Preparative Example 1), 0.475 g of sodium dioctyl
sulfosuccinate (Aldrich, 98%), 53.5 ml of ethyl alcohol (Aldrich, 200 proof, anhydrous,
99.5%), 9.405 g styrene and 0.095 g divinylbenzene (Aldrich, mixture of isomers, 80%
purity). After removing the free oxygen by purging Ni for 30 min., the temperature
was raised to 70°C. The polymerization was started by adding 0,095 g of 4,4'-
azobis(4-cyanovaleric acid) (Aldrich, 75%) dissolved in 10 ml of ethanol. After 27
hours, the reaction was stopped by cooling to room temperature. Monodisperse
particles were obtained. The monomer conversion was 93 % and the particle volume
average diameter was 1.6 pm.
Preparative Example 4 : Non-cross-linked core-shell particles
A 100 ml three-neck round bottom flask, equipped with a mechanical stirrer, an inletoutlet
N2 purge and a condenser was placed in a thermostatted water bath at 70°C, To
the flask 5.48 g of a latex containing 12.3 wt.% polystyrene monodisperse particles
having a diameter of 3.15 |am was added. To this latex a solution 0.009 g sodium
dodecyl sulfate and 0.007 g sodium bicarbonate dissolved in 43.3 ml of distilled
deionized water was added. The suspension was agitated at 100 rpm and allowed to
reach 70°C under N2 purge. When the temperature of the reaction mixture was stable,
0.0068 g of potassium persulfate in 0.5 ml of distilled deionized water was added.
Immediately following this the reaction was started by feeding a mixture of 0.676 g of a
mixture of 74% methyl methacrylate, 6% hydroxymethyl methacrylate and 20%
methacrylic acid at a rate of 0.01 ml/min with a syringe pump. After the completion of
feeding (1.2 h) the reaction was allowed to proceed under agitation for 2 additional
hours at 70°C. The reaction was then quenched by adding 0.0068 g of hydroquinone in
1 ml water and cooled rapidly to room temperature. A latex of 2.75 wt.% solids having
monodisperse core-shell particles of 3.32 um diameter was obtained. The surface
carboxyl group parking area was 1,52 A2/group.
Example 1: Synthesis of fluorescent green non-cross-linked
microparticles (dye/polymer = 0.334 mg/g)
A 25 ml three neck round bottom glass flask was charged with 0.05 g of cleaned
(1ml ethanol, three rounds of centrifugation (6500 rpm at room temperature) and
redispersion) and non-cross-linked copolymer particles, added as 0.312 ml of the latex
as prepared in Preparative Ex. 2, To the particle suspension, 1 ml sodium dodecyl
sulfate solution ("SDS") (0.75 wt.%), 1.5 ml poly(vinyl alcohol) (Aldrich, molecular
weight 85,000-146,000, hydrolyzed grade 87-89%) as a 0.1% water solution, and 4.75
ml of ethanol were added. To this mixture, 0.0835 ml of a dichloromethane (Aldrich,
99.9%) solution containing 0.0167 mg of fluorescent green dye, Bodipy FL C5, SE
(4,4-difluoro-5,7-dimethyl-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene-3-pentanoic acid,
succinimidyl ester, Mw = 417.22, Molecular Probes) was added. Finally, 10.6 ml of
distilled deionized water was added and the mixture agitated for another 2 hours. The
whole mixture was then transferred to a 50 ml plastic centrifuge tube and centrifuged at
4500 rpm for 1 min. The supernatant was removed and the pellet containing the
colored beads was washed three times with 2 ml of ethanol, and finally resuspended in
2 ml of 0.2 % SDS solution. The ratio of green dye to polymer was 0.334 mg/g. The
intensity and the uniformity of the green fluorescence were determined using a Nikon
fluorescence microscope with a charge-couple device (CCD) camera and image
acquisition software. The results are shown as a scatter plot in Fig. 4 The ordinate of
each spot represents the green fluorescence intensity associated with a single particle;
data were not corrected for background signal/noise.
Example 2: Preparation of green fluorescent cross-linked microparticles
(dye/polymer = 1.667 mg/g)
This example is similar to Example 1, except that the polymer particles had a
cross-linked structure, and the scale of the experiment was increased four-fold, A 2 ml
latex emulsion containing 0.2 g of cross-linked core-shell particles (Bangs
Laboratories, Inc., 3.2 |am, 10 % solids, 12.5 % divinylbenzene) was cleaned of
emulsifier by adding 1 ml ethanol and centrifuging at 6500 rpm for 2 min. This
operation was repeated 3 times. The cleaned polymer particles were transferred to a
100 ml round bottom flask filled with 6 ml of an aqueous solution of 1.0 wt.%
polyvinyl alcohol, 4 ml of a aqueous solution of 0,75 wt.% SDS and 19 ml ethanol. To
this mixture, 1.5 ml of CtkCh containing 0,3334 mg of fluorescent green dye, Bodipy
FL C5, SE, was added, After this, 53 ml of distilled deionized water was added. The
particle suspension was then transferred to a rotary evaporator and the solvents were
removed under vacuum (26.5 Hg inches) while the temperature was gradually increased
to 40°C, then to 56°C, and finally to 63°C for removal of the organic solvents. The
concentrated colored suspension was collected and centrifuged at 6500 for 2 min. and
the supernatant discarded. The microparticle pellet was washed by three rounds of
centrifugation and resuspended with 5 ml ethanol. Finally, the cleaned colored beads
were resuspended in 2 ml SDS 0,2 wt.% to a concentration of about 10% solids. The
ratio of green dye to polymer was 1.667 mg/g. The intensity and the uniformity of the
green fluorescence were determined using a Nikon fluorescence microscope with
attached CCD camera and image acquisition software. The results are shown as a
scatter plot in Fig. 5. The ordinate of each spot represents the green fluorescence
intensity associated with a single particle; data were not corrected for background
signal/noise.
Example 2A: Library of fluorescent green dye-encoded cross-linked
microparticles (initial dye/polymer concentration = 0.833
mg/g)
The procedure of Ex. 1 was followed, except that the green fluorescent dye
amount in the CHzCk solution was 166.67 mg and the water feed rate was 21 ml/h.
During the course of water addition, four separate fractions were withdrawn at a time
interval of 30 minutes apart. The serial run thus generated five different populations of
' colored particles (one fraction was collected before, starting the water feed) with each
population having a distinct mean fluorescence intensity, which was a function of the
amount of water added at the fraction, was withdrawn. The particles were analyzed
according to the procedure described in Ex. 1. 'The green fluorescence intensity value
measured for each type of colored particles is presented in Table la. In Table la, and
elsewhere herein, "a.u." means arbitrary units,
Table la: Green fluorescence intensity values for samples withdrawn in Ex. 2A.
(Table Removed)
ExampleZB: Library of dual-colored non-cross-linked microparticles encoded
with green and orange fluorescent dyes (initial dye/polymer
concentration: green dye/polymer =orange dye/polymer = 0.75 rag/g)
A set of distinguishable dual-colored non-cross-linked particles encoded with
green and orange fluorescent dyes was produced by invoking the serial solvent tuning
method of the present invention, using the following initial dye concentrations: Green
fluorescent dye/polymer = 0,75 mg/g; orange fluorescent dye/polymer = 0.75 mg/g.
IJjree separate fractions were collected according to the methodology of Example 2A
above, except that two fluorescent dyes were present in the initial pre-incubation
suspension. The amounts of water added until the time of fraction withdrawal and the
mean intensities of the different fractions of microparticles collected are shown in
Table Ib.
Table Ib: Green and Orange Fluorescent Intensities from Ex. 2B (26.5 ml/h
water fed rate)
(Table Removed)

Examples 3-6: Analysis of dye partitioning in the preparation of green
fluorescent cross-linked microparticles
Four separate green fluorescent-dyed particle preparations were prepared by a
protocol as in Ex. 2, but on a smaller scale, comparable to the scale of Ex, 1. The
respective amounts of water added were: 0.833 ml, 1.74 ml, 5.31 ml and 10.59 ml,
corresponding to water volume fractions of 0.398, 0.463; 0.623 and 0.738, respectively.
Following completion of dye incorporation, the colored particles were centrifuged. The
supernatant was saved in order to determine,, the green dye remaining in solution.
Accordingly, equal amounts of each of the four supernatant solutions were diluted
(24x) with alcohol and fluorescence spectra were recorded. The emission intensity
values (see Table 2) were used to calculate the concentration of green dye remaining in
each solution according to the calibration curve of Fig. 6(a). The concentration of
green dye concentration incorporated into the particles was calculated as the difference
between the total initial amount of green dye in the reaction and that remaining in the
supernatant. These values are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Dye partitioning details
(Table Removed)

Figure 6(b) shows the nonlinear variation of incorporated dye content as a
function of water volume fraction.
i
The calculated incorporated green dye content also was correlated to the
intensity of green fluorescence recorded by fluorescence microscopy from stained
particles. The results in Fig 6(c) display a linear correlation.
Fig 6(d) shows the partition coefficient of the dye, K, plotted against Y. The
curve exhibits a characteristic exponential dependence illustrating the fine-tuning of
dye incorporation by way of modulation of the solvent composition in accordance with
the present invention.
Example 7: Cross-linked particles containing green fluorescent dye
(dye/polymer = 0.833 mg/g)
The procedure of Example 2 was followed, except that the green dye solution in
CHzCk added to the particle suspension had a concentration of 0.1 mg/ml, and the
experiment was run at half the scale in a 50 ml flask. Accordingly, the amount of water
added following the addition of the dye solution, was 1.765 ml. The colored particles
were recovered and washed by repeated centrifugation and re-dispersion.
Examples 8-10: Cross-linked particles containing green fluorescent dye
The procedure of Example 7 was followed to generate three additional particle
sets, except that the water amounts were 5,3 ml, 10.6 ml and 21.2 ml, respectively.
Example 11: Cross-linked particles containing orange fluorescent dye
(dye/polymer = 0.334 mg/g)
The procedure of Example 7 was followed, except that .the dye was orange
Bodipy 558/568, SE (4,4-difluoro-5-(2-thienyl)-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene-3-
propionic acid, succinimidyl ester, Mw = 443.23, Molecular Probes), The
concentration of orange dye in methylene chloride solution was 0.045 mg/ml. The
amount of water added following the addition of the dye solution was 1.765 ml. The
ratio of orange dye to polymer was 0.833mg/g. The concentration of orange dye in
methylene chloride solution was 0.045 mg/ml.
Examples 12-14: Cross-linked particles containing orange fluorescent dye
The procedure of Example 11 was followed to generate three additional particle
sets, except that the respective amounts of water added were 5.3 ml, 10.6 ml and 21,2
ml.
Example 15: Cross-linked particles containing 1:1 molar ratio of green and
orange fluorescent dyes (green dye/polymer =0.150 mg/g;
orange dye/polymer 0.153 mg/g)
The procedure of Example 7 was followed, except that instead of one dye, an
equimolar mixture of the green and the orange dyes of Examples 7-14 were used.
Specifically, the methylene chloride solution with the two dyes had a concentration of
0.20 mg/ml of the green dye and 0.212 mg/ml of the orange dye,
Examples 16-17: Cross-linked particles containing differing amounts of green
and orange fluorescent dyes
The procedure of Example 15 was followed to generate two additional particle
sets, except that the respective amounts of water added were 5.3 ml and 21.2 ml.
Example 18: Cross-linked particles containing 1:0,5 molar ratio of green and
orange fluorescent dyes (green dye/polymer =0.150 mg/g; orange
dye/polymer = 0.765 mg/g)
The procedure of Example 15 was followed, except that green and orange dyes w«re
used in a molar ratio of 1:05. Specifically, the methylene chloride solution containing
the two dyes had a concentration of 0.20 mg/ml of the green dye and 0.10 mg/ml of the
orange dye.
Examples 19-21: Cross-linked particles containing green and orange fluorescent
dyes
The procedure of Example 18 was followed to generate three additional particle
sets, except that the respective amounts of water added were 5.3 ml, 10.6 ml and 21.2
ml.
Example 22: Cross-linked particles containing 0.5:1 molar ratio of fluorescent
green and orange dye (green dye/polymer =0.150 mg/g; orange
dye/polymer = 0.765 mg/g)
The procedure of Example 15 was followed, except that (a) the green and
orange dyes were used in a molar ratio of 0.5:1 and (b) the amount of water added was
1.5 ml. The methylene chloride solution containing the two dyes had a concentration of
0.10 mg/ml of the green dye and 0.212 mg/ml of the orange dye.
Examples 23-25: Cross-linked particles containing green and orange fluorescent
dyes
The procedure of Example 22 was followed to generate three additional particle
sets, except that the respective amounts of water added were 5.3 ml, 10.6 ml and 21.2
ml.
The fluorescence intensities of the dyed particle sets prepared in accordance
with Examples 7-25 are shown in Table 3.
TableS: Green and Orange Intensities as a function of initial dye
Concentrations
(Table Removed)
Example 26: Construction of a fluorescence-encoded microparticlc library
A library containing the nineteen fluorescent microparticle sets according to
Examples 7-25 was constructed. Ten of the nineteen sets were pooled and a
fluorescence image of the mixture was recorded using a Nikon fluorescence
microscope attached with a CCD camera and image acquisition software, permitting
recording of the green and orange fluorescence. Ten clusters corresponding to the ten
sets in the pool are apparent in the scatter plot (cluster map) of Fig. 7 employing
logarithmic units of orange and green intensities on abscissa and ordinate, respectively.
Results of the analysis of the clusters are summarized in Table 4.
Table 4: Cluster mean intensities and corresponding coefficients of variation
(Table Removed)
Example 27: Preparation of encoded magnetic particles
A, Synthesis of aqueous ferrofluid
Stock solutions of IM FeCl3 in IN HC1 and 2M FeCl2 in IN HC1 were
prepared. In a 100 ml glass bottle, 4ml of IM FeCl3 and 1 ml of 2M FeCl2 solution
were combined 400 ml of deionized distilled water and 100 ml of a 30wt.% NTHLjOH
solution were mixed to give 500 ml of an about 1.7 M solution of NH3 in water. Fifty
ml of the ammonia solution was added slowly to the glass bottle containing the iron salt
solutions under vigorous agitation. Following completion of this step, 2 ml of a
25wt.% solution of tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide was added and the solution
sonicated for about 1 hr. Following this, the ferrofluid was allowed to settle overnight
under the influence of a magnetic field. Next, the supernatant was decanted and the
precipitate washed with distilled water. The iron oxide nanoparticle suspension in
deionized water was homogenized and allowed to settle overnight under the influence
of gravity. Following settling, the precipitate was discarded and the dark colored
supernatant collected as the final ferrofluid suspension.
B. Synthesis of encoded magnetic particles
Colored polymer microparticles of identical dye content and about 3 microns in
diameter were prepared according to methods described herein to comprise a
polystyrene core and a methyl methacrylate (MMA), hydroxyethylmethacrylate
(HEMA) and methacrylic acid (MAA) shell. The particles were dispersed in deionized
water to give 1 ml of an about 1% suspension. A 50 microliter aliquot of the
ferrofluid suspension was then added to the suspension. The suspensions were
admixed with end-over-end rotation for 48 hours at room temperature. The resultant
solution was centrifuged at about 200 g for 10 minutes. A tan colored particle pellet
was separated from the brownish red colored supernatant containing the excess
nanopaticles. The supernatant was discarded and the pellet resuspended in 1% SDS
solution and centrifuged again. This step was repeated two times and the pellet finally
redispersed- in PBS buffer with 0.5% Tween-20. The 1 ml particle suspension was
taken in a standard 1.5 ml standard Eppendorf tube and the tube was mounted on a
Promega Multitube Magnetic Stand. Complete separation of the suspended particles
(as a pellet on the wall of the tube) took place in about 10 minutes.
Example 28: Coupling of avidin to surface of fluorescence-encoded, carboxylfunctionalized
microparticles
The carboxylate-functionalized polymer microparticles prepared according to
Preparative Example 4 were rendered fluorescent according to the procedure of
Example 1 to provide green fluorescent microparticles (dye/polymer = 0.334 mg/g), In
a 2 ml vial, an aliquot containing 10 mg of the green fluorescent microparticles was
mixed with 1 ml 10 mM borate buffer (pH=8.5). The particles were then separated by
centrifugation and the supernatant was siphoned off. Following this, the separated
pellet was washed two times in 0.1 M MES buffer (pH=4.5) and finally resuspended in
600 ul of the same. In a separate vial, 3 mg of Neutravidin (a biotin-binding protein,
Pierce Chemicals, Rockford, IL) was dissolved in 300 ul of the MES buffer and the
solution slowly added to the suspension of the polymer microparticles. The suspension
was briefly sonicated using a probe sonicator. Following this, 150 ul of a l-ethyl-3-(3-
dimethylaminopropyl)-carbodiimide (Aldrich-Sigma, Milwaukee, WI) (EDAC)
solution (200 mg/ml) was added to the particle solution. The mixture was allowed to
react for 2 hours at room temperature, following which NeutrAvidin-functionalized
polymer microparticles were separated, washed once in coupling buffer, twice in borate
buffer and finally resuspended and stored in storage buffer (PBS pH = --7.4, 0.1% (w/v)
BSA, 0.5%(w/v) Tween 20, 10 mM ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) and
0.02% (w/v) NaN3) at 2-8°C.
Example 29: Coupling of avidin to surface of fluorescence-encoded, tosylfunctionalized
microparticles
Commercially available cross-linked, tosyl-functionalized fluorescent core-shell
microparticles (Bangs Laboratories, Inc., 3.2 um, 10% solids, 12.5% divinylbenzene)
were used in this example. The microparticles contained a green fluorescent dye
loading of about 0.3 mg dye/g microparticle. Two hundred microliters of a suspension
containing 1% of the microparticles were washed three times with 500 ul of 100 mM
phosphate buffer (pH 7.4) and resuspended in 500 ul of that buffer, Following this, 20
ul of 5 mg/ml NeutrAvidin was added and the reaction allowed to proceed overnight at
37°C. Following completion of the incubation, the functionalized particles were
washed once with 500 ul of PBS (pH 7.4) containing lOmg/ml BSA, resuspended in
500 ul of that buffer and reacted for 1 hr at 37°C to block unreacted sites on the
microparticle surface. Following the blocking step, the microparticles were washed
three times with 500 ul of PBS (pH 7.4) containing 10 mg/ml BSA and stored in 200 ul
of PBS (pH 7.4) with 10 mg/ml BSA.
Example 30: NeutrAvidin-biotin binding assay using fluorescent microparticles
One hundred microliters of the NeutrAvidin-functionalized fluorescent
microparticles, containing 1% solids of Example 28, were placed in a 1.5 ml vial and
the suspension diluted with 900 ul of PBS containing 0.01% (w/v) of Tween-20
(PBST). The microparticles were mixed .by vortexing and then separated by
centrifugation. The supernatant was aspirated off, and the pellet resuspended in 980 ul
of PBS. 20 ul of a biotin-Oligo(dT)5-CY5.5 (oligo labeled with a fluorescent dye
Cy5.5)(IDT, Coralville, IA) at a concentration (26.7 ng/ml) was added and the mixture
was incubated for 30 minutes at room temperature. Following this, the microparticles
were separated and washed twice in PBST and resuspended in 1ml of PBST. The
microparticles were then assembled on a chip and their surface fluorescence was
determined as a direct measure of the amount of biotin-Oligo(dT)5-CY5.5 bound to the
NeutrAvidin-functionalized particles. The results displayed in Figure 8 show the
biotinylated probe capture efficiency of two different particles (marked as samples)
dyed using the method of the present invention and the capture efficiency of a non-dyed
microparticle that was used as a positive control,
Example 31: Hybridization assay using fluorescent microparticles
Biotinylated oligonucleotides with known base sequence were attached to the
fluorescence-encoded microparticles functionalized with NeutrAvidin (as prepared in
Example 30) as follows. Fifty microliters of a solution containing 1% of the
NeutrAvidin-functionalized microparticles was placed in 0.1 ml reaction buffer (150
mM NaCl, 0.05 M EDTA, 0.5% bovine serum albumin, 0.5 mM Tris-HCl, and 100
mM sodium phosphate, pH 7,2) containing 0.4 ^M biotinylated oligonucleotides and
approximately 7 x 10s microparticles. The reaction mixture was incubated at room
temperature for 30 minutes under vortexing. Upon completion of the reaction, the
particles were collected by centrifugation, washed three times with PBST (150 mM
NaCl, 100 mM sodium phosphate, pH 7.2 with 0.05% Tween 20) and resuspended in
0.2 ml PBS (150 mM NaCl, 100 mM sodium phosphate, pH 7.2.). The foregoing
procedure can be utilized to couple any biotinylated oligonucleotide of interest to
NeutrAvidin-functionalized particles.
One microliter of a 10 nM solution of a synthetic target (5VCY5.5/SEQ ID
NO.-1/-3') in de-ionized water was diluted with 19 ul of Ix TMAC (4.5 M tetramethyl
ammonium chloride, 75 mM Tris pH 8.0, 3 mM EDTA, 0.15% SDS) to a final volume
of 20 }j,l. Two types of oligonucleotide-functionalized fluorescent microparticles were
assembled into planar arrays on silicon substrates. The first microparticle type was
functionalized with a matched probe sequence 5'-Biotin/(TEGspacer)/SEQ ID NO:2/-
3' The second microparticle type was functionalized with a mismatched probe
sequence Biotin/(TEGspacer)/SEQ ID NO:3/-3'). Twenty microliters of the synthetic
target was added to the substrate surface and the substrate was placed in a 53°C heater
for 15 minutes under shaking at 30 rpm. The slide was then removed from the heater
the target solution was aspirated. The substrate was washed once with Ix TMAC at
room temperature. Following this, 10 u.1 of Ix TMAC was placed on the substrate
surface, covered with a glass cover-slip and the fluorescence intensity of the array
recorded using the instrumentation described before. The results in Fig. 9 show that the
hybridization was specific.
Example 32: Immunoassay using fluorescent microparticles
Commercially available cross-linked, tosyl-functionalized fluorescent core-shell
microparticles (Bangs Laboratories, Inc., 3.2 um, 10 % solids, 12,5 % divinylbenzene)
were used in this example. The microparticles contained a green fluorescent dye
loading of about 0.3 mg dye/ g microparticle. One ml of PBST (PBS pH 7.4 containing
0.1% Tween-20) and 50 (j,L of a 1% suspension of the dyed tosylate-functionalized
microparticles (O.Smg) were combined in an eppendorf tube and mixed well by
vortexing. Following this, the suspension was centrifuged at 7500 rpm for 2 min. and
the supernatant decanted. The operation was repeated once with ImL of PBST and
once with ImL of PBS. Microparticles were finally resuspended in ImL of PBS. A
pre-calculated amount of anti-TNF-gc antibody (R&D Systems), at a concentration of
50 ng protein/mg microparticles, was added, and the suspension was incubated
overnight at room temperature under end-over-end rotation. The microparticles were
then washed and resuspended in 1ml of blocking/storage buffer (0.1M PBS pH 7.4
containing 0.1%BSA, 0.1% Tween 20 and 0.1% NaN3). Ten microliters of the
antibody-functionalized microparticle suspension were placed in a 1.5mL Eppendorf
tube. The particles were washed twice with ImL of PBST and once with 1 mL of PBS
(pH7,2). Thirty microliters of a stock solution of Cy5.5-labeled goat anti-mouse IgG
was diluted by adding 1470 |iL of PBS (1:50). Five hundred microliters of this solution
was transferred to the microparticle suspension and the antibody-binding reaction
incubated for 60 min. at room temperature under end-over-end mixing. Following
incubation, the particles were washed twice with ImL of PBST and then resuspended in
10 |j.L of PBS. A planar array of microparticles was then assembled on silicon
substrate for analysis as in Example 31. An average Cy5.5 intensity of 6,500 was
recorded using the conditions and instrumentation described before.
All references discussed herein are incorporated by reference. One skilled in
the art will readily appreciate that the present invention is well adapted to carry out the
objects and obtain the ends and advantages mentioned, as well as those inherent
therein. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without
departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof and, accordingly, reference
should be made to the appended claims, rather than to the foregoing specification, as
indicating the scope of the invention.








We claim:
1. A method of producing plurality of dyed polymer microparticle of different dye concentrations wherein dye is loaded into polymer microparticles to generate said microparticle populations, comprising:
(a) providing:
(i) at least one first solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are
soluble;
(ii) at least one tuning solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are
not or only weakly soluble, said first and tuning solvents being immiscible or at
most partially miscible;
(iii) at least one third solvent in which the dye and the microparticle polymer are
not or only weakly soluble, said third solvent being miscible with the first and
tuning solvents;
(b) forming a plurality of suspensions of said polymer microparticles, each in a designated volume of a mixture including the tuning solvent and the third solvent;
(c) adding to said polymer microparticle suspension a solution including the dye dissolved in said first solvent to form a homogeneous solution in the mixture of the first, tuning and third solvents, characterized in that;
(d) increasing the uptake of dye into the polymer microparticles in at least one of said populations relative to another of said populations by decreasing the solvency of the mixture of the first, tuning and third solvents for the dye, by varying the tuning solvent, so as to control the partitioning of the dye between the solvent and the polymer comprising the microparticles;
(e) creating two or more aliquots from said microparticle master-batch
suspension containing selected added amounts of tuning solvent, wherein the
added tuning solvent increases the amount of dye partitioning to the polymer
microparticles in said aliquots; and
(f) incubating the polymer microparticle suspension aliquots for a period of time
so that the amount of dye partitioning to the microparticles, for a given initial dye
concentration in the dye solution, is controlled by the amount of tuning solvent added to the microparticle suspension aliquots.
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein the solvency of the mixture is
decreased by adding tuning solvent.
3. The method according to claim 1 wherein tuning solvent is added continuously or semi-continuously to the microparticle suspension to cause, respectively, a continuous or semi-continuous decrease in the solvency of the mixture of the first, tuning and third solvents for the solute, and an increase in the uptake of solute into the polymer microparticles, but without causing precipitation of the solute, in said at least one of said populations.
4. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the dye is a fluorescent dye.
5. The method as claimed in claim 4, wherein the dye is a hydrophobic dye.
6. The method as claimed in claim 4, wherein the dye is selected from the group consisting of styryl dyes, pyrromethane dyes, coumarin dyes, and combinations thereof.
7. The method as claimed in claim 1, wherein the microparticles comprise a hydrophobic polymer.
8. The method as claimed in claim 7, wherein the polymer is a homopolymer or copolymer comprising a vinyl-containing monomer.
9. The method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the polymer is selected from the group consisting of homopolymers or copolymers of styrene, methyl methacrylate, acrylamide, ethylene glycol, hydroxyethylmethacrylate, vinyltoluene, divinylbenzene, and combinations thereof.
10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the polymer is polystyrene or
copolymer thereof containing at least 50% by weight styrene monomer units.
11. The method as claimed in claim 10, wherein the polymer is a
styrene/methacrylic acid copolymer.
12. The method as claimed in claim 8, wherein the polymer is cross-linked.
13. The method as claimed in claim 1, comprising a solvent wherein the first
solvent is selected from the group consisting of methylene chloride, chloroform,
tetrahydrofuran, dioxane, cyclohexane, benzene, toluene, butylacetate, lower
chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons, and combinations thereof; the tuning solvent
is water; and the third solvent is selected from the group consisting of acetone,
lower alcohols, and combinations thereof.
14. The method as claimed in claim 13, wherein the first solvent is methylene chloride or dichloromethane, and the tuning solvent is water.
15. The method as claimed in claim 14, wherein the third solvent is alcohol.

Documents:


Patent Number 248581
Indian Patent Application Number 3685/DELNP/2005
PG Journal Number 30/2011
Publication Date 29-Jul-2011
Grant Date 26-Jul-2011
Date of Filing 19-Aug-2005
Name of Patentee BIOARRAY SOLUTIONS, LTD.
Applicant Address SUITE 100, 35 TECHNOLOGY DRIVE, WARREN, NJ 07059, USA
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 GEORGESCU, CECILIA 30 BIRCHVIEW DRIVE, PISCATAWAY, NJ 08854, USA
2 BANERJEE, SUKANTA 41 LINCOLN PLACE, NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ 08902, USA
3 SEUL, MICHAEL 84 PLEASANT PLACE, FANWOOD, NJ 07023, USA
PCT International Classification Number B01F
PCT International Application Number PCT/US2004/001433
PCT International Filing date 2004-01-21
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 10/348,165 2003-01-21 U.S.A.