Pressure-Modulated Selective Electrokinetic Trapping for Direct Enrichment, Purification, and Detection of Nucleic Acids in Human Serum

2018-08-29T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Wei Ouyang Zirui Li Jongyoon Han
Micro total-analysis systems (μTAS) have been extensively developed for the detection of nucleic acids (NAs) in resource-limited settings in recent years, yet the sample-preparation steps that interface real-world samples with on-chip analytics remain as the technical bottleneck. We report pressure-modulated selective electrokinetic trapping (PM-SET) for the direct enrichment, purification, and detection of NAs in human serum in one step without involving tedious solid-phase extraction, chemical amplification, and surface-hybridization-based assays. Under appropriately modulated hydrostatic pressures, NAs in human serum were selectively enriched in an electrokinetic concentrator with the majority of background proteins removed, achieving an enrichment factor of >4800 in 15 min. A sequence-specific NA was detected simultaneously during the enrichment process using a complementary morpholino (MO) probe, realizing a limit of detection of 3 pM in 15 min. PM-SET greatly reduces the cost, time, and complexity of sample preparation for NA detection and could be easily interfaced with existing NA-detection devices to achieve true sample-to-answer biomolecular analytics.