JOURNAL ARTICLE

Digital isothermal quantification of nucleic acids via simultaneous chemical initiation of recombinase polymerase amplification reactions on SlipChip

Feng Shen, Elena K Davydova, Wenbin Du, Jason E Kreutz, Olaf Piepenburg, Rustem F Ismagilov
Analytical Chemistry 2011 May 1, 83 (9): 3533-40
21476587
In this paper, digital quantitative detection of nucleic acids was achieved at the single-molecule level by chemical initiation of over one thousand sequence-specific, nanoliter isothermal amplification reactions in parallel. Digital polymerase chain reaction (digital PCR), a method used for quantification of nucleic acids, counts the presence or absence of amplification of individual molecules. However, it still requires temperature cycling, which is undesirable under resource-limited conditions. This makes isothermal methods for nucleic acid amplification, such as recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA), more attractive. A microfluidic digital RPA SlipChip is described here for simultaneous initiation of over one thousand nL-scale RPA reactions by adding a chemical initiator to each reaction compartment with a simple slipping step after instrument-free pipet loading. Two designs of the SlipChip, two-step slipping and one-step slipping, were validated using digital RPA. By using the digital RPA SlipChip, false-positive results from preinitiation of the RPA amplification reaction before incubation were eliminated. End point fluorescence readout was used for "yes or no" digital quantification. The performance of digital RPA in a SlipChip was validated by amplifying and counting single molecules of the target nucleic acid, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) genomic DNA. The digital RPA on SlipChip was also tolerant to fluctuations of the incubation temperature (37-42 °C), and its performance was comparable to digital PCR on the same SlipChip design. The digital RPA SlipChip provides a simple method to quantify nucleic acids without requiring thermal cycling or kinetic measurements, with potential applications in diagnostics and environmental monitoring under resource-limited settings. The ability to initiate thousands of chemical reactions in parallel on the nanoliter scale using solvent-resistant glass devices is likely to be useful for a broader range of applications.

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