Quantitative characterization of binding of small molecules to extracellular matrix

Yufen Zhang, Viera Lukacova, Katie Reindl, Stefan Balaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix (ECM) is a major tissue component that, besides its cell support function, is implicated in cell-cell signaling, wound repair, cell adhesion, and other cell and tissue functions. For small molecules acting in tissues, including chemicals, signaling peptides, effectors, inhibitors, and other man-made and physiological compounds, non-specific binding to ECM is a critical phenomenon affecting their disposition. We describe here a method for a quantitative characterization of the ECM binding, using a solidified ECM layer incubated with medium containing studied small molecules. Working conditions of Matrigel, a commercial basement membrane preparation, were optimized in terms of the protein concentration, surface area, gel layer thickness, solidification time, and mixing speed. The release of proteins from the solidified layer into the buffer was monitored and taken into account. Two major proteins, laminin and collagen IV, dissolve at different rates. The Matrigel stability data, obtained under varying incubation conditions and gentle mixing, can also be useful in other ECM-related research. The experimental binding data, averaged over all binding sites, were analyzed assuming a fast linear binding. The binding constants were determined for 10 small organic molecules for both dissolved proteins and the solidified layer. The binding constants tend to increase with lipophilicity of the compounds, as characterized by the 1-octanol/water partition coefficients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 30 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • 1-Octanol/water partition coefficient
  • Binding assay
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Lipophilicity
  • Matrigel
  • Matrigel dissolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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