Recombinant antibody-based immunoassays have emerged as crucial techniques for detecting antibiotic residues in food samples. Developing a stable recombinant antibody production system and enhancing detection sensitivity are crucial for their biosensing applications. Here, we bioengineered a single-chain fragment variable (scFv) antibody to target chloramphenicol (CAP) using both Bacillus subtilis and HEK 293 systems, with the HEK 293-derived scFv demonstrating superior sensitivity. Computational chemistry analyses indicated that ASP-99 and ASN-102 residues in the scFv play key roles in antibody recognition, and the hydroxyl group near the benzene ring of the target molecule is critical for in antibody binding. Furthermore, we enhanced the scFv’s biosensing sensitivity using an HCR-CRISPR/Cas12a amplification strategy in a streptavidin-based immunoassay. In the dual-step amplification process, detection limits for CAP in the HCR and HCR-CRISPR/Cas12a stages were significantly reduced to 55.23 pg/mL and 3.31 pg/mL, respectively. These findings introduce an effective method for developing CAP-specific scFv antibodies and also propose a multi-amplification strategy to increase immunoassay sensitivity. Additionally, theoretical studies also offer valuable guidance in CAP hapten design and genetic engineering for antibody modification.
CRISPR/Cas12a; Hybridization chain reaction; Immunoassay; Recognition mechanism; Recombinant antibody.
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Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of competing interest The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
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