Design and Synthesis of Haptens for Mercury

Creative Biolabs is one of the trusted experts to provide high-quality haptens design and preparation with our advanced hapten design platform. The efficient synthesis of haptens for mercury is the critical step for the development of specific antibodies against mercury for a broad application for the detection of mercury.

Contamination of Mercury

Heavy metals, particularly mercury, have played significant roles in the field of bioanalytical chemistry; however, they are still bio-accumulative toxic and persistent environmental contaminants that cause hazards to human health and environment. Mercury can be presented in different forms such as metallic, inorganic, and organic forms; among them, the organic forms are the most toxic. Human mercury exposure is mainly by the ingestion of contaminated seafood as well as dental amalgam fillings and contaminated water and air. The half-life of mercury in human brains can be over several years; long-term mercury exposure can cause damage to the brain and affect the central nervous system, kidney, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract even at deficient concentrations. Mercury is a neurotoxicant and immunotoxic, and even causes carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, and teratogenesis when it is released into the environment in relevant quantities. Mercury has considered a highly dangerous element due to its accumulative and persistent character in the environment.

Molecular structures of commonly used chelators. Fig.1 Molecular structures of commonly used chelators. (Wang, 2012)

Mercury-chelate Complexes as Haptens

Environmental pollution by mercury is a growing problem worldwide; therefore, it is critical to developing easy-to-use immunoassays to detect and quantify low amounts of mercury efficiently. Anti-mercury monoclonal antibodies are used as the key diagnostic tools in the highly specific and sensitive immunoassays. Mercury is a smaller, low-molecular-weight molecule and is classified as hapten of insufficient size to induce the formation of specific antibodies. Therefore, in some previous studies, mercury was conjugated to an abundant carrier protein (such as KLH), via a bifunctional EDTA or their derivates to elicit adequate immune responses. Such determining and monitoring based on these specific antibodies against mercury provide the basis for accurately understanding the detection, source, and degree of pollution.

Design and Synthesis of Haptens for Mercury

Synthetic strategy for preparing a unique mercury-based hapten holds promise for the development of highly sensitive immunoassays which constitute powerful, but easy-to-use, analytical tools for detecting mercury contaminations. Creative Biolabs provides the design strategies and synthesis approach aimed at preparing and synthesizing stable haptens for mercury. These haptens can be facilitated by the coordination of mercury to bifunctional chelating agents and covalent attachment to protein carriers. There are a series of optional bifunctional chelating agents and carrier proteins (KLH, BSA, and OVA) that can ensure the successful synthesis of haptens to induce the production of specific antibodies, including glutathione (GSH), EDTA, and their derivatives as chelators. Antibodies prepared from the suitable mercury-chelate-protein complexes could display high affinity and specificity for the mercury to meet a variety of complicated needs.

The preparation of metal-chelate complexes has been the focus to generate antibodies capable of binding metals and further developing highly sensitive mercury immunoassays. Based on our vast experience gained from hapten design, Creative Biolabs is pleased to provide first-class design and synthesis services of haptens to meet customers’ requirements in a high-quality manner. Please feel free to contact us for more information.


  1. Wang, Y.; et al. Highly sensitive and specific determination of mercury (II) ion in water, food and cosmetic samples with an ELISA based on a novel monoclonal antibody. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. 2012, 403(9): 2519-2528.
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