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Electric Single-Molecule Hybridization Detector for Short DNA Fragments

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journal contribution
posted on 06.11.2018, 00:00 by A. Y. Y. Loh, C. H. Burgess, D. A. Tanase, G. Ferrari, M. A. McLachlan, A. E. G. Cass, T. Albrecht
By combining DNA nanotechnology and high-bandwidth single-molecule detection in nanopipets, we demonstrate an electric, label-free hybridization sensor for short DNA sequences (<100 nucleotides). Such short fragments are known to occur as circulating cell-free DNA in various bodily fluids, such as blood plasma and saliva, and have been identified as disease markers for cancer and infectious diseases. To this end, we use as a model system an 88-mer target from the RV1910c gene in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is associated with antibiotic (isoniazid) resistance in TB. Upon binding to short probes attached to long carrier DNA, we show that resistive-pulse sensing in nanopipets is capable of identifying rather subtle structural differences, such as the hybridization state of the probes, in a statistically robust manner. With significant potential toward multiplexing and high-throughput analysis, our study points toward a new, single-molecule DNA-assay technology that is fast, easy to use, and compatible with point-of-care environments.