Method of Detecting Molecules

Reference#: P02417

Fluorescence-based detection of nucleic acid has several drawbacks. First, it requires that fluorescent tags be chemically attached to target nucleic acid. Second, fluorescent tags have a lifetime, after which they bleach, which limits sensitivity and archiving. Finally, fluorescent readout technology requires a laser and optical system.

To eliminate the necessity of fluorescently tagging target nucleic acid, which requires chemical steps before analyte is brought to a sensor, APL inventors have devised an apparatus and method for the exposure of analyte to a nanoporous sensor without chemical processing.

The invention is a nucleic acid microarray sensor that detects target nucleic acid based on binding-induced conductivity changes in parallel nanochannels. The sensor allows for the detection of the binding of “target” nucleic acid to “probe” nucleic acid strands that are linked to the sensor. The probe nucleic acid strands are linked to the inner walls of a high-aspect-ratio porous structure. The pore diameter may range from 5 nm to 200 nm. When target nucleic acid binds to the probe nucleic acid that is linked to the pore walls, it fills a large fraction of the cross-sectional area of the pore. Because the dominant electrical conduction mechanism through a liquid is ionic, it is expected that by filling a large fraction of the pore volume with target nucleic acid, the electrical conduction through the pore will be significantly reduced.

Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 7906316; 8,691,499 issued.

*Proof of Concept Completed; Available for Licensing.

Dr. G. R. Jacobovitz
Phone: (443) 778-9899

Additional References:

Link to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office