Biosensors2014, 4(2), 90-110; doi:10.3390/bios4020090 - published online 8 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nanostructured bupivacaine-selective molecularly imprinted 3-aminophenylboronic acid-p-phenylenediamine co-polymer (MIP) films have been prepared on gold-coated quartz (Au/quartz) resonators by electrochemical synthesis under cyclic voltammetric conditions in a liquid crystalline (LC) medium (triton X-100/water). Films prepared in water and in the absence of template were used for control studies. Infrared spectroscopic studies demonstrated comparable chemical compositions for LC and control polymer films. SEM studies revealed that the topologies of the molecularly imprinted polymer films prepared in the LC medium (LC-MIP) exhibit discernible 40 nm thick nano-fiber structures, quite unlike the polymers prepared in the absence of the LC-phase. The sensitivity of the LC-MIP in a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor platform was 67.6 ± 4.9 Hz/mM under flow injection analysis (FIA) conditions, which was ≈250% higher than for the sensor prepared using the aqueous medium. Detection was possible at 100 nM (30 ng/mL), and discrimination of bupivacaine from closely related structural analogs was readily achieved as reflected in the corresponding stability constants of the MIP-analyte complexes. The facile fabrication and significant enhancement in sensor sensitivity together highlight the potential of this LC-based imprinting strategy for fabrication of polymeric materials with hierarchical architectures, in particular for use in surface-dependent application areas, e.g., biomaterials or sensing.
Biosensors2014, 4(1), 76-89; doi:10.3390/bios4010076 - published online 21 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We have developed a label-free viscosity-based DNA detection system, using paramagnetic beads as an asynchronous magnetic bead rotation (AMBR) microviscometer. We have demonstrated experimentally that the bead rotation period is linearly proportional to the viscosity of a DNA solution surrounding the paramagnetic bead, as expected theoretically. Simple optical measurement of asynchronous microbead motion determines solution viscosity precisely in microscale volumes, thus allowing an estimate of DNA concentration or average fragment length. The response of the AMBR microviscometer yields reproducible measurement of DNA solutions, enzymatic digestion reactions, and PCR systems at template concentrations across a 5000-fold range. The results demonstrate the feasibility of viscosity-based DNA detection using AMBR in microscale aqueous volumes.
Biosensors2014, 4(1), 63-75; doi:10.3390/bios4010063 - published online 14 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The attachment and arrangement of microbes onto a substrate is influenced by both the biochemical and physical surface properties. In this report, we develop lectin-functionalized substrates containing patterned, three-dimensional polymeric structures of varied shapes and densities and use these to investigate the effects of topology and spatial confinement on lectin-mediated microbe immobilization. Films of poly(glycidyl methacrylate)-block-4,4-dimethyl-2-vinylazlactone (PGMA-b-PVDMA) were patterned on silicon surfaces into line arrays or square grid patterns with 5 μm wide features and varied pitch. The patterned films had three-dimensional geometries with 900 nm film thickness. After surface functionalization with wheat germ agglutinin, the size of Pseudomonas fluorescens aggregates immobilized was dependent on the pattern dimensions. Films patterned as parallel lines or square grids with a pitch of 10 μm or less led to the immobilization of individual microbes with minimal formation of aggregates. Both geometries allowed for incremental increases in aggregate size distribution with each increase in pitch. These engineered surfaces combine spatial confinement with affinity-based capture to control the extent of microbe adhesion and aggregation, and can also be used as a platform to investigate intercellular interactions and biofilm formation in microbial populations of controlled sizes.
Biosensors2014, 4(1), 47-62; doi:10.3390/bios4010047 - published online 13 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Over the past decade, primary cilia have emerged as the premier means by which cells sense and transduce mechanical stimuli. Primary cilia are sensory organelles that have been shown to be vitally involved in the mechanosensation of urine in the renal nephron, bile in the hepatic biliary system, digestive fluid in the pancreatic duct, dentin in dental pulp, lacunocanalicular fluid in bone and cartilage, and blood in vasculature. The prevalence of primary cilia among mammalian cell types is matched by the tremendously varied disease states caused by both structural and functional defects in cilia. In the process of delineating the mechanisms behind these disease states, calcium fluorimetry has been widely utilized as a means of quantifying ciliary function to both fluid flow and pharmacological agents. In this review, we will discuss the approaches used in associating calcium levels to cilia function.
Biosensors2014, 4(1), 28-44; doi:10.3390/bios4010028 - published online 27 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Micro-scale printing and patterning of living cells has multiple applications including tissue engineering, cell signaling assays, and the fabrication of cell-based biosensors. In this work, a molecular printing instrument, the Bioforce Nano eNabler, was modified to enable micron-scale “quill-pen” based printing of mammalian cells in a 3D hyaluronan/gelatin based hydrogel. Specifically, photo-initiated “thiol-ene” click chemistry was used to couple the thiol groups of thiolated hyaluronan/thiolated gelatin to the alkene groups of 4-arm polyethylene glycol (PEG)-norbornene molecules. Rapid photopolymerization enabled direct printing and controlled curing of living cells within the hydrogel matrix. The resulting hydrogels were biocompatible with human adipose-derived stem cells, NIH-3T3 cells, and mouse embryonic stem cells. The utility of this printing approach was also explored for cell-based biosensors. Micro-printed cells expressing a redox sensitive variant of the green fluorescent protein (roGFP-R12) showed a measurable fluorescent response to addition of oxidizing and then reducing agents. This work represents a novel approach to micron-scale cell patterning, and its potential for living, cell-based biosensors.