Inverse Molecular Sentinel-Integrated Fiberoptic Sensor for Direct and in Situ Detection of miRNA Targets.
Molecular advances have been made in analysis systems for a wide variety of applications ranging from biodiagnostics, biosafety, bioengineering, and biofuel research applications. There are, however, limited practical tools necessary for in situ and accurate detection of nucleic acid targets during field work. New technology is needed to translate these molecular advances from laboratory settings into the real-life practical monitoring realm. The exquisite characteristics (e.g., sensitivity and adaptability) of plasmonic nanosensors have made them attractive candidates for field-ready sensing applications. Herein, we have developed a fiber-based plasmonic sensor capable of direct detection (i.e., no washing steps required) of nucleic acid targets, which can be detected simply by immerging the sensor in the sample solution. This sensor is composed of an optical fiber that is decorated with plasmonic nanoprobes based on silver-coated gold nanostars (AuNS@Ag) to detect target nucleic acids using the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensing mechanism of nanoprobes referred to as inverse molecular sentinels (iMS). These fiber-optrodes can be reused for several detection-regeneration cycles (>6). The usefulness and applicability of the iMS fiber-sensors was tested by detecting target miRNA in extracts from leaves of plants that were induced to have different expression levels of miRNA targets. These fiber-optrodes enable direct detection of miRNA in plant tissue extract without the need for complex assays by simply immersing the fiber in the sample solution. The results indicate the fiber-based sensors developed herein have the potential to be a powerful tool for field and in situ analysis of nucleic acid samples.
Strobbia, P; Ran, Y; Crawford, BM; Cupil-Garcia, V; Zentella, R; Wang, H-N; Sun, T-P; Vo-Dinh, T
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