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Biomolecule detection using quantum dots (Qdots), nanometer-sized semiconductor crystals, effectively addresses the limitations associated with conventional optical and biochemical techniques, as Qdots offer several key advantages over traditional fluorophores. In this minireview, we discuss the role of Qdots as a central nanoscaffold for the polyvalent assembly of multifunctional biomolecular probes and describe recent advances in Qdot-based biorecognition. Specifically, we focus on Qdot applications in target-based, drug screening assays and real-time active biosensing of cellular processes.
Bacterial biofilms are a metabolically heterogeneous community of bacteria distributed in an extracellular matrix comprised primarily of hydrated polysaccharides. Effective inhibitory concentrations measured under planktonic conditions are not applicable to biofilms, and inhibition concentrations measured for biofilms vary widely. Here, we introduce a novel microfluidic approach for screening respiration inhibition of bacteria in a biofilm array morphology. The device geometry and operating conditions allow antimicrobial concentration and flux to vary systematically and predictably with space and time. One experiment can screen biofilm respiratory responses to many different antimicrobial concentrations and dosing rates in parallel. To validate the assay, onset of respiration inhibition following NaN₃ exposure is determined optically using an O₂-sensing thin film. Onset of respiration inhibition obeys a clear and reproducible pattern based on time for diffusive transport of the respiration inhibitor to each biofilm in the array. This approach can be used for high-throughput screening of antimicrobial effectiveness as a function of microbial characteristics, antimicrobial properties, or antimicrobial dosing rates. The approach may also be useful in better understanding acquired antimicrobial resistance or for screening antimicrobial combinations.
Manganese (Mn) is an environmental risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD). Recessive inheritance of PARK2 mutations is strongly associated with early onset PD (EOPD). It is widely assumed that the influence of PD environmental risk factors may be enhanced by the presence of PD genetic risk factors in the genetic background of individuals. However, such interactions may be difficult to predict owing to the complexities of genetic and environmental interactions. Here we examine the potential of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived early neural progenitor cells (NPCs) to model differences in Mn neurotoxicity between a control subject (CA) with no known PD genetic risk factors and a subject (SM) with biallelic loss-of-function mutations in PARK2 and family history of PD but no evidence of PD by neurological exam. Human iPS cells were generated from primary dermal fibroblasts of both subjects. We assessed several outcome measures associated with Mn toxicity and PD. No difference in sensitivity to Mn cytotoxicity or mitochondrial fragmentation was observed between SM and CA NPCs. However, we found that Mn exposure was associated with significantly higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in SM compared to CA NPCs despite significantly less intracellular Mn accumulation. Thus, this report offers the first example of human subject-specific differences in PD-relevant environmental health related phenotypes that are consistent with pathogenic interactions between known genetic and environmental risk factors for PD.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The development of multi-colored fluorescent proteins, nanocrystals and organic fluorophores, along with the resulting engineered biosensors, has revolutionized the study of protein localization and dynamics in living cells. Hyperspectral imaging has proven to be a useful approach for such studies, but this technique is often limited by low signal and insufficient temporal resolution. Here, we present an implementation of a snapshot hyperspectral imaging device, the image mapping spectrometer (IMS), which acquires full spectral information simultaneously from each pixel in the field without scanning. The IMS is capable of real-time signal capture from multiple fluorophores with high collection efficiency (∼65%) and image acquisition rate (up to 7.2 fps). To demonstrate the capabilities of the IMS in cellular applications, we have combined fluorescent protein (FP)-FRET and [Ca(2+)](i) biosensors to measure simultaneously intracellular cAMP and [Ca(2+)](i) signaling in pancreatic β-cells. Additionally, we have compared quantitatively the IMS detection efficiency with a laser-scanning confocal microscope.
Release of neurotransmitters and hormones by calcium regulated exocytosis is a fundamental cellular/molecular process that is disrupted in a variety of psychiatric, neurological, and endocrine disorders. Therefore, this area represents a relevant target for drug and therapeutic development, efforts that will be aided by novel analytical tools and devices that provide mechanistically rich data with increased throughput. Toward this goal, we have electrochemically deposited iridium oxide (IrOx) films onto planar thin film platinum electrodes (20 μm×300 μm) and utilized these for quantitative detection of catecholamine release from adrenal chromaffin cells trapped in a microfluidic network. The IrOx electrodes show a linear response to norepinephrine in the range of 0-400 μM, with a sensitivity of 23.1±0.5 mA/M mm(2). The sensitivity of the IrOx electrodes does not change in the presence of ascorbic acid, a substance commonly found in biological samples. A replica molded polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device with nanoliter sensing volumes was aligned and sealed to a glass substrate with the sensing electrodes. Small populations of chromaffin cells were trapped in the microfluidic device and stimulated by rapid perfusion with high potassium (50mM) containing Tyrode's solution at a flow rate of 1 nL/s. Stimulation of the cells produced a rapid increase in current due to oxidation of the released catecholamines, with an estimated maximum concentration in the cell culture volume of ~52 μM. Thus, we demonstrate the utility of an integrated microfluidic network with IrOx electrodes for real-time quantitative detection of catecholamines released from small populations of chromaffin cells.
Copyright Â© 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
The miniaturization of electrochemical sensors allows for the minimally invasive and cost effective examination of cellular responses at a high efficacy rate. In this work, an ink-jet printed superoxide dismutase electrode was designed, characterized, and utilized as a novel microfluidic device to examine the metabolic response of a 2D layer of macrophage cells. Since superoxide production is one of the first indicators of oxidative burst, macrophage cells were exposed within the microfluidic device to phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), a known promoter of oxidative burst, and the production of superoxide was measured. A 46 ± 19% increase in current was measured over a 30 min time period demonstrating successful detection of sustained macrophage oxidative burst, which corresponds to an increase in the superoxide production rate by 9 ± 3 attomoles/cell/s. Linear sweep voltammetry was utilized to show the selectivity of this sensor for superoxide over hydrogen peroxide. This novel controllable microfluidic system can be used to study the impact of multiple effectors from a large number of bacteria or other invaders along a 2D layer of macrophages, providing an in vitro platform for improved electrochemical studies of metabolic responses.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Porous silicon waveguide biosensors that utilize grating couplers etched directly into porous silicon are demonstrated for improved molecular detection capabilities. Molecules are infiltrated through the grating couplers into the waveguide where they can interact with a guided waveguide mode. Hybridization of nucleic acids inside the waveguide is shown to significantly perturb the wave vector of the guided mode and is detected through angle-resolved reflectance measurements. A detection sensitivity of 7.3°/mM is demonstrated with selectivity better than 6:1 compared to mismatched sequences. Experimental results are in good agreement with calculations based on rigorous coupled wave analysis. Use of the all-porous silicon grating-coupled waveguide allows improved interaction of the optical field with surface-bound molecules compared to evanescent wave-based biosensors.
The development of tools and processes used to fabricate, measure, and image nanoscale objects has lead to a wide range of work devoted to producing sensors that interact with extremely small numbers (or an extremely small concentration) of analyte molecules. These advances are particularly exciting in the context of biosensing, where the demands for low concentration detection and high specificity are great. Nanoscale biosensors, or nanobiosensors, provide researchers with an unprecedented level of sensitivity, often to the single molecule level. The use of biomolecule-functionalized surfaces can dramatically boost the specificity of the detection system, but can also yield reproducibility problems and increased complexity. Several nanobiosensor architectures based on mechanical devices, optical resonators, functionalized nanoparticles, nanowires, nanotubes, and nanofibers have been demonstrated in the lab. As nanobiosensor technology becomes more refined and reliable, it is likely it will eventually make its way from the lab to the clinic, where future lab-on-a-chip devices incorporating an array of nanobiosensors could be used for rapid screening of a wide variety of analytes at low cost using small samples of patient material.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
In traditional immuno-polymerase chain reaction (immuno-PCR), a single antibody recognition event is associated with one to three DNA tags, which are subsequently amplified by PCR. Here we describe a nanoparticle-amplified immuno-PCR (NPA-IPCR) assay that combines antibody recognition of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with a 50-fold nanoparticle valence amplification step prior to tag amplification by PCR. The assay detects a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surface protein using an antibody bound to a 15-nm gold nanoparticle cofunctionalized with thiolated DNA complementary to a hybridized 76-base tag DNA with a tag DNA/antibody ratio of 50:1. The presence of virus particles triggers the formation of a "sandwich" complex composed of the gold nanoparticle construct, virus, and an antibody-functionalized magnetic particle used for extraction. After extraction, DNA tags are released by heating to 95°C and detected via real-time PCR. The limit of detection of the assay was compared with ELISA and reversion transcription (RT) PCR using RSV-infected HEp-2 cell extracts. NPA-IPCR showed an approximately 4000-fold improvement in the limit of detection compared with ELISA and a 4-fold improvement compared with viral RNA extraction followed by traditional RT-PCR. NPA-IPCR offers a viable platform for the development of early-stage diagnostics requiring an exceptionally low limit of detection.
2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.