Label-Free Protein Detection
Conventional methods to detect the presence or quantity of specific proteins or other molecules in biological samples rely on the use of target-specific probes such as antibodies, which can be detected via chemical tags or fluorescent labels. However, conjugating labels to proteins can alter the functional properties of a probe and thus a number of label-free methods to detect proteins such as the use of functionalized silicon nano-wires or carbon nano-tubes have been developed. However, these nano-structure-based techniques require expensive equipment and/or expensive fabrication techniques. This invention concerns the development of a novel and inexpensive protein detection platform.
The invention is an electrical method of detecting proteins in aqueous solution and consists of a thin membrane of silicon dioxide perforated with nano-diameter holes. The sides of the holes are coated with a specific probe and an electrical array is able to detect the electrical resistance in the current flowing through to the base electrode. If present in aqueous solution, target molecules will bind to the probe and reduce the diameter of the hole. This increases the electrical resistance and enables the amount of a specific protein in solution to be detected by a change in current. This invention has already been successfully applied to the detection and measurement of streptavidin target molecules using a biotin probe.
· Inexpensive and rapid protein detection platform compared to other nano-based techniques.
· Probe does not require modification and so the risk of an impaired probe-target interaction is limited.
· Applicable for the detection of a range of chemicals and molecules such as specific proteins, DNA and RNA.
· Applications of the technology are wide-ranging and include biomarker chips, detection of bio-warfare chemicals and pollutants and point-of-care diagnostic kits.
Patent Status A patent has been filed (WO/2009/093019) and the owner is now seeking partners for further development and licensing.
Ref # 4288
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