Real-Time Electrochemical Detection of Targets Using Phage-Displayed Polypeptides

Background: With up to 10^12 unique members, phage-displayed libraries provide a vast pool of candidate receptors to essentially any target. Despite this tremendous potential of phage-displayed libraries for universal molecular recognition, the technique has found only limited application in biosensors. Detecting molecular recognition between phage and target requires the target to be immobilized by using methods such as quartz crystal microbalance, microelectrode arrays, fluoroimmunoassays, and etc. However an unexplored and potentially more attractive approach is to use phages attached to a solid support to detect analytes in solution by an electric signal when a target binds directly to a phage. Technology: University of California, Irvine (UCI) researchers have developed a method to permanently affix phages to a surface so it is continuously exposed to analyte containing solutions. This sensing regime directly couples recognition between the phage and an analyte of interest such as cancer markers, disease-associated antigens, DNA, RNA and other molecules with an electrical signal Application: This novel sensing regime developed at the UCI may be used as a biosensor that allows for label-free detection and real-time sensing of analytes in solution by phage recognition. This sensing regime may also be easily miniaturized and used to diagnose and detect a number of medical conditions. UCI researchers have developed a working prototype of this sensing regime to detect prostate cancer with a limit of detection in the low nanomolar range.

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