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A Detailed Model of Electroenzymatic Glutamate Biosensors To Aid in Sensor Optimization and in Applications in Vivo

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journal contribution
posted on 27.10.2017 by Mackenzie Clay, Harold G. Monbouquette
Simulations conducted with a detailed model of glutamate biosensor performance describe the observed sensor performance well, illustrate the limits of sensor performance, and suggest a path toward sensor optimization. Glutamate is the most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, and electroenzymatic sensors have emerged as a useful tool for the monitoring of glutamate signaling in vivo. However, the utility of these sensors currently is limited by their sensitivity and response time. A mathematical model of a typical glutamate biosensor consisting of a Pt electrode coated with a permselective polymer film and a top layer of cross-linked glutamate oxidase has been constructed in terms of differential material balances on glutamate, H2O2, and O2 in one spatial dimension. Simulations suggest that reducing thicknesses of the permselective polymer and enzyme layers can increase sensitivity ∼6-fold and reduce response time ∼7-fold, and thereby improve resolution of transient glutamate signals. At currently employed enzyme layer thicknesses, both intrinsic enzyme kinetics and enzyme deactivation likely are masked by mass transfer. However, O2-dependence studies show essentially no reduction in signal at the lowest anticipated O2 concentrations for expected glutamate concentrations in the brain and that O2 transport limitations in vitro are anticipated only at glutamate concentrations in the mM range. Finally, the limitations of current biosensors in monitoring glutamate transients is simulated and used to illustrate the need for optimized biosensors to report glutamate signaling accurately on a subsecond time scale. This work demonstrates how a detailed model can be used to guide optimization of electroenzymatic sensors similar to that for glutamate and to ensure appropriate interpretation of data gathered using such biosensors.

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