Confocal Nanoscanning, Bead Picking (CONA): PickoScreen Microscopes for Automated and Quantitative Screening of One-Bead One-Compound Libraries

Martin Hintersteiner, Christof Buehler, Volker Uhl, Mario Schmied, Juergen Mueller, Karsten Kottig, Manfred Auer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solid phase combinatorial chemistry provides fast and cost-effective access to large bead based libraries with compound numbers easily exceeding tens of thousands of compounds. Incubating one-bead one-compound library beads with fluorescently labeled target. proteins and identifying and isolating the beads which contain a bound target protein, potentially represents one of the most powerful generic primary high throughput screening formats. On-bead screening (OBS) based on this detection principle can be carried out with limited automation. Often hit bead detection, i.e. recognizing heads with a fluorescently labeled protein bound to the compound on the bead, relies on eye-inspection under a wide-field microscope, Using low resolution detection techniques, the identification of hit beads and their ranking is limited by a low fluorescence signal intensity and varying levels of the library beads' autofluorescence. To exploit the full potential of all OBS process, reliable methods for both automated quantitative detection of hit beads and their subsequent isolation are needed. In a joint collaborative effort with Evotec Technologies (now Perkin-Elmer Cellular Technologies Germany GmbH), we have built two confocal bead scanner and picker platforms PS02 and a high-speed variant PS04 dedicated to automated high resolution OBS. The PSOX instruments combine fully automated confocal large area scanning of a bead monolayer at the bottom of standard MTP plates with semiautomated isolation of individual hit beads via hydraulic-driven picker capillaries. The quantification of fluorescence intensities with high spatial resolution ill the equatorial plane of each bead allows for a reliable discrimination between entirely bright autofluorescent beads and real hit beads which exhibit an increased fluorescence signal at the outer few micrometers of the bead. The achieved screening speed of up to 200 000 bead assayed in less than 7 h and the picking time of similar to 1 bead/min allow exploitation of one-bead one-compound libraries with high sensitivity, accuracy, and speed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-894
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of combinatorial chemistry
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2009


  • Peptides and proteins
  • Fluorescence detection
  • Fluorescence
  • Drug discovery
  • Screening assays


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