Published on Sep 27, 2012
An electrochemical DNA-switch (blue ribbon) detects its
target antibody (green) directly in blood. By mimicking nature's own
sensing mechanisms, Alexis Vallée-Bélisle, Kevin W. Plaxco, and Francesco
Ricci have built a synthetic molecular switch that
enables the fast and convenient detection of diagnostically relevant
antibodies. The sensing principle is straightforward: Upon antibody
binding, the switch opens and separates a signaling element (bright
circle) from the surface of an underlying electrode. This causes a
signal change that can be easily measured using inexpensive devices
similar to those used in the home glucose self-test meter. Using these
"nature-inspired" nanoswitches the researchers were able to detect
anti-HIV antibodies directly in whole blood in less than five minutes.
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