Multivalent weak interactions enhance selectivity of interparticle binding

M R W Scheepers, L J van IJzendoorn, M W J Prins (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Targeted drug delivery critically depends on the binding selectivity of cargo-transporting colloidal particles. Extensive theoretical work has shown that two factors are necessary to achieve high selectivity for a threshold receptor density: multivalency and weak interactions. Here, we study a model system of DNA-coated particles with multivalent and weak interactions that mimics ligand-receptor interactions between particles and cells. Using an optomagnetic cluster experiment, particle aggregation rates are measured as a function of ligand and receptor densities. The measured aggregation rates show that the binding becomes more selective for shorter DNA ligand-receptor pairs, proving that multivalent weak interactions lead to enhanced selectivity in interparticle binding. Simulations confirm the experimental findings and show the role of ligand-receptor dissociation in the selectivity of the weak multivalent binding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22690-22697
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number37
Early online date28 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020


  • multivalency
  • selectivity
  • particles


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