Solid-phase combinatorial chemistry and scintillation proximity assays

  • Mark C. McCairn

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The Scintillation Proximity Assay (SPA) is a method that is frequently used to detect and quantify the strength of intermolecular interactions between a biological receptor and ligand molecule in aqueous media.
This thesis describes the synthesis of scintillant-tagged-compounds for application in a novel cell-based SPA. A series of 4-functianlised-2,5-diphenyloxazole molecules were synthesised. These 4-functionalised-2,5-diphenyloxazoles were evaluated by Sense Proteomic Ltd. Accordingly, the molecules were evaluated for the ability to scintillate in the presence of ionising radiation. In addition, the molecules were incorporated into liposomal preparations which were subsequently evaluated for the ability to scintillate in the presence of ionising radiation. The optimal liposomal preparation was introduced into the membrane of HeLa cells that were used successfully in a cell-based SPA to detect and quantify the uptake of [14C]methionine.
This thesis also describes the synthesis and subsequent polymerisation of novel poly(oxyethylene glycol)-based monomers to form a series of new polymer supports. These Poly(oxyethylene glycol)-polymer (POP) supports were evaluated for the ability to swell and mass-uptake in a variety of solvents, demonstrating that POP-supports exhibit enhanced solvent compatibilities over several commercial resins. The utility of POP-supports in solid-phase synthesis was also demonstrated successfully.
The incorporation of (4’-vinyl)-4-benzyl-2,5-diphenyloxazole in varying mole percentage into the monomer composition resulted in the production of chemically functionalised scintillant-containing poly(oxyethylene glycol) polymer (POP-Sc) supports. These materials are compatible with both aqueous and organic solvents and scintillate efficiently in the presence of ionising radiation. The utility of POP-Sc supports in solid-phase synthesis and subsequent in-situ SPA to detect and quantify, in real-time, the kinetic progress of a solid-phase reaction was exemplified successfully.In addition, POP-Sc supports were used successfully both in solid-phase combinatorial synthesis of a peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-library and subsequent screening of this library for the ability to hybridise with DNA, which was labelled with a suitable radio-isotape. This data was used to identify the dependence of the number and position of complimentary codon pairs upon the extent of hybridisation. Finally, a further SPA was used to demonstrate the excellent compatibility of POP-Sc supports for use in the detection and quantification of enzyme assays conducted within the matrix of the POP-Sc support.

Date of AwardJul 2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew J Sutherland (Supervisor)


  • scintillant
  • polymer
  • PEG
  • PNA
  • hybridization

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