Oligonucleotide-modified screen-printed gold electrodes for enzyme-amplified sensing of nucleic acids

Guido Carpini, Fausto Lucarelli, Giovanna Marrazza, Marco Mascini
Biosensors & Bioelectronics 2004 September 15, 20 (2): 167-75
An electrochemical genosensor for the detection of specific sequences of DNA has been developed using disposable screen-printed gold electrodes. Screen-printed gold electrodes were firstly modified with a mixed monolayer of a 25-mer thiol-tethered DNA probe and a spacer thiol, 6-mercapto-1-hexanol (MCH). The DNA probe sequence was internal to the sequence of the 35S promoter, which sequence is inserted in the genome of GMOs regulating the transgene expression. An enzyme-amplified detection scheme, based on the coupling of a streptavidin-alkaline phosphatase conjugate and biotinylated target sequences was then applied. The enzyme catalysed the hydrolysis of the electroinactive alpha-naphthyl phosphate to alpha-naphthol; this product is electroactive and has been detected by means of differential pulse voltammetry. The assay was, firstly, characterised using synthetic oligonucleotides. Relevant parameters, such as the probe concentration and the immobilisation time, the use of the MCH and different enzymatic conjugates, were investigated and optimised. The genosensor response was found to be linearly related to the target concentration between 0 and 25 nmol/L; the detection limit was 0.25 nmol/L. The analytical procedure was then applied for the detection of the 35S promoter sequence, which was amplified from the pBI121 plasmid by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Hybridisation conditions (i.e., hybridisation buffer and hybridisation time) were further optimised. The selectivity of the assay was confirmed using biotinylated non-complementary amplicons and PCR blanks. The results showed that the genosensor enabled sensitive (detection limit: 1 nmol/L) and specific detection of GMO-related sequences, thus providing a useful tool for the screening analysis of bioengineered food samples.

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