Navigation Links
Biosensing nanodevice to revolutionize health screenings

One day soon a biosensing nanodevice developed by Arizona State University researcher Wayne Frasch may eliminate long lines at airport security checkpoints and revolutionize health screenings for diseases like anthrax, cancer and antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Even more incredible than the device itself, is that it is based on the worlds tiniest rotary motor: a biological engine measured on the order of molecules.

Frasch works with the enzyme F1-adenosine triphosphatase, better known as F1- ATPase. This enzyme, only 10 to 12 nanometers in diameter, has an axle that spins and produces torque. This tiny wonder is part of a complex of proteins key to creating energy in all living things, including photosynthesis in plants. F1-ATPase breaks down adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine diphospahte (ADP), releasing energy. Previous studies of its structure and characteristics have been the source of two Nobel Prizes awarded in 1979 and 1997.

It was through his own detailed study of the rotational mechanism of the F1-ATPase, which operates like a three-cylinder Mazda rotary motor, that Frasch conceived of a way to take this tiny biological powerhouse and couple it with science applications outside of the human body.

An article authored by Frasch and his colleagues in the ASU School of Life Sciences details the technology that would allow this. Their publication Single-molecule detection of DNA via sequence-specific links between F1-ATPase motors and gold nanorod sensors was recently published in the journal Lab on a Chip, and featured in the online journal Chemical Biology produced by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

What Frasch and his colleagues show is that the enzyme can be armed with an optical probe (gold nanorod) and manipulated to emit a signal when it detects a single molecule of target DNA. This is achieved by anchoring a quiescent F1-ATPase motor to a surface. A single strand of a reference biotinylated DNA molecule is then attached to its axle. The marker protein, biotin, on the DNA is known to bind specifically and tightly to the glycoprotein avidin, so an avidin-coated gold nanorod is then added. The avidin-nanorod attaches to the biotinylated DNA strand and forms a stable complex.

When a test solution containing a target piece of DNA is added, this DNA binds to the single complementary reference strand attached to the F1-ATPase. The DNA complex, suspended between the nanorod and the axle, forms a stiff bridge. Once ATP is added to the test solution, the F1-ATPase axle spins, and with it, the attached (now double-stranded) DNA and nanorod. The whirling nano-sized device emits a pulsing red signal that can then be detected with a microscope.

According to Frasch, the rotation discriminates fully assembled nanodevices from nonspecifically bound nanorods, resulting in a sensitivity limit of one zeptomole (600 molecules). Simply put, if its not moving and flashing, it simply isnt relevant.

Moreover, Frasch says, Studies with the F1-ATPase in my laboratory show that since it can detect single DNA molecules, it far exceeds the detection limits of conventional PCR [polymerase chain reaction] technology.

Such a detection instrument based on the F1-ATPase enzyme would also be faster and more portable, he adds.

With support from Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), Frasch will transfer his work from the bench to biotech, through establishment of a local company that utilizes the nano-sized F1-ATPase to produce a DNA detection instrument.

A prototype of the DNA detector is already in development. It is roughly the size of a small tissue box. Sampling would be as simple as taking a swab from an infected wound or a piece of baggage, dissolving it in a solution and placing a drop on a slide bearing reference F1-ATPases and their nanorods. Once in the instrument, red blinking signals emitted by rotating nanorods would let a computer know theres trouble, literally, in a flash.

SFAz funding has also enabled Frasch to extend the method to do protein detection at the single molecule level. This is novel because, unlike DNA, proteins can not be amplified artificially to improve the chances of detection.

Rapid and sensitive biosensing of nucleic acids and proteins is vital for the identification of pathogenic agents of biomedical and bioterrorist importance, notes Frasch, who is also with the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It also provides a new avenue through which to analyze genotypes and forensic evidence.


Contact: Margaret Coulombe
Arizona State University

Related biology news :

1. Systems Biology poised to revolutionize the understanding of cell function and disease
2. Sanitation investment in poor countries would yield $9-to-1 benefits in productivity, health: UN
3. Study finds health professionals, public unprepared for genomic medicine
4. Solving an avian scourge could also provide benefits to human health
5. Healthy rivers needed to remove nitrogen
6. Scientists to discover why flamingos are in the pink of health -- in the poo!
7. Dissolved organic matter in the water column may influence coral health
8. U of M finds teens who eat breakfast daily eat healthier diets than those who skip breakfast
9. The top 5 ways medical physics has changed health care
10. Turtle studies suggest health risks from environmental contaminants
11. Iowa Staters talk biofuels, healthy oils and pharma crops at AAAS meeting
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/6/2017)... -- RAM Group , Singaporean based technology ... biometric authentication based on a novel  quantum-state ... perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on a ... Group and its partners. This sensor will have widespread ... security. Ram Group is a next generation sensor ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on ... ... is available in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website ... SEC,s website at . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh Biotechnology today announced that ... SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) B VHH13 ... cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and inhibit its function. Dysregulation ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... FirstHand program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand ... Excellence in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced the ... NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be ... small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using NGS ... the need to accelerate development of approaches to analyze ... "New techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings ... mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell therapy ... limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ... of limbs saved as compared to standard bone ... molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
Breaking Biology Technology: