Due to the highly specific binding between an antibody and its target, superior analytical performances was obtained by immunoassays for phytochemical analysis over conventional chromatographic techniques. Here, we describe a simple method for producing a functional single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibody against ganoderic acid A (GAA), a pharmacologically active metabolite from Ganoderma lingzhi. The Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) strain produced a large amount of anti-GAA scFv. However, in vitro refolding steps, which partially recovered the reactivity of the scFv, were required. Interestingly, the functional scFv was expressed as a soluble and active form in the cytoplasm of an engineered E. coli SHuffle® strain. Purified anti-GAA scFv, which yielded 2.56mg from 1L of culture medium, was obtained from simple and inexpensive procedures for expression and purification. The anti-GAA scFv-based indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (icELISA) exhibited high sensitivity (linearity: 0.078–1.25µg/mL) with precision (CV: ≤6.20%) and reliability (recovery: 100.1–101.8%) for GAA determination. In summary, the approach described here is an inexpensive, simple, and efficient expression system that extends the application of anti-GAA scFv-based immunoassays. In addition, when in vitro refolding steps can be skipped, the cost and complexity of scFv antibody production can be minimized.
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