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Control of Probe Density at DNA Biosensor Surfaces Using Poly(l‑lysine) with Appended Reactive Groups

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journal contribution
posted on 09.11.2018, 00:00 by Jacopo Movilli, Andrea Rozzi, Roberto Ricciardi, Roberto Corradini, Jurriaan Huskens
Biosensors and materials for biomedical applications generally require chemical functionalization to bestow their surfaces with desired properties, such as specific molecular recognition and antifouling properties. The use of modified poly­(l-lysine) (PLL) polymers with appended oligo­(ethylene glycol) (OEG) and thiol-reactive maleimide (Mal) moieties (PLL-OEG-Mal) offers control over the presentation of functional groups. These reactive groups can readily be conjugated to, for example, probes for DNA detection. Here we demonstrate the reliable conjugation of thiol-functionalized peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes onto predeposited layers of PLL-OEG-Mal and the control over their surface density in the preceding synthetic step of the PLL modification with Mal groups. By monitoring the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) frequency shifts of the binding of complementary DNA versus the density of Mal moieties grafted to the PLL, a linear relationship between probe density and PLL grafting density was found. Cyclic voltammetry experiments using Methylene Blue-functionalized DNA were performed to establish the absolute probe density values at the biosensor surfaces. These data provided a density of 1.2 × 1012 probes per cm2 per % of grafted Mal, thus confirming the validity of the density control in the synthetic PLL modification step without the need of further surface characterization.