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Nanotechnology innovation may revolutionize gene detection in a single cell
Date:1/10/2008

es to detect three different RNA genes along with a bar code index to tell the tiles apart from each other. Each probe can be distinguished by its own bar code, so we mixed them together in one solution and we used this for multiplex detection, said Yan. The group uses a powerful instrument, atomic force microscopy (AFM), which allows the researchers to image the tiles at the single molecule level.

On the surface of each DNA probe tile is a dangling single stranded piece of DNA that can bind to the RNA target of interest. Each probe actually contains two half probes, so when the target RNA comes in, it will hybridize to the half probes and turn the single stranded dangling probes into a stiff structure, said Yan. When it is stiffened, it will be sensed by the atomic force microscope cantilever, and you can see a bright line, which is a height increase. The result is a mechanical, label-free detection.

The technology is able to detect minute quantities of RNA. Since the DNA-RNA hybridization has such a strong affinity, in principle, a single molecule would be able to hybridize to the probe tile, said Yan.

Although there are still many technical hurdles yet to overcome, the group is excited about the potential applications of the technology. What our approach provides is that the probe tiles are a water-soluble reagent, so the sample volume can potentially be shrunk down to the volume of a single cell level. Our ultimate goal is to detect RNA gene expression at the single cell level.


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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-727-0369
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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