On-chip synthesis of RNA aptamer microarrays for multiplexed protein biosensing with SPR imaging measurements

  • Chen Y
  • Nakamoto K
  • Niwa O
 et al. 
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Microarrays of RNA aptamers are fabricated in a one-step, multiplexed enzymatic synthesis on gold thin films in a microfluidic format and then employed in the detection of protein biomarkers with surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRI) measurements. Single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) oligonucleotides are transcribed on-chip from double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) templates attached to microarray elements (denoted as generator elements) by the surface transcription reaction of T7 RNA polymerase. As they are synthesized, the ssRNA oligonucleotides diffuse in the microfluidic channel and are quickly captured by hybridization adsorption onto adjacent single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) microarray elements (denoted as detector elements) that contain a sequence complementary to 5'-end of the ssRNA. The RNA aptamers attached to these detector elements are subsequently used in SPRI measurements for the bioaffinity detection of protein biomarkers. The microfluidic generator-detector element format permits the simultaneous fabrication of multiple ssRNA oligonucleotides with different capture sequences that can hybridize simultaneously to distinct detector elements and thus create a multiplexed aptamer microarray. In an initial set of demonstration experiments, SPRI measurements are used to monitor the bioaffinity adsorption of human thrombin (hTh) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) proteins onto RNA aptamer microarrays fabricated in situ with this on-chip RNA polymerase synthesis methodology. Additional SPRI measurements of the hydrolysis and desorption of the surface-bound ssRNA aptamers with a surface RNase H are used to verify the capture of ssRNA with RNA-DNA surface hybridization onto the detector elements. The on-chip RNA synthesis described here is an elegant, one-step multiplexed methodology for the rapid and contamination-free fabrication of RNA aptamer microarrays for protein biosensing with SPRI.

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