A portable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) instrument was tested for the first time for the detection of oligonucleotide sequences derived from the 16S rRNA gene of Oleispira antarctica
RB-8, a bioindicator species of marine oil contamination, using morpholino-functionalized sensor surfaces. We evaluated the stability and specificity of morpholino coated sensor surfaces and tested two signal amplification regimes: (1) sequential injection of sample followed by magnetic bead amplifier and (2) a single injection of magnetic bead captured oligo. We found that the sensor surfaces could be regenerated for at least 85 consecutive sample injections without significant loss of signal intensity. Regarding specificity, the assay clearly differentiated analytes with only one or two mismatches. Signal intensities of mismatch oligos were lower than the exact match target at identical concentrations down to 200 nM, in standard phosphate buffered saline with 0.1 % Tween-20 added. Signal amplification was achieved with both strategies; however, significantly higher response was observed with the sequential approach (up to 16-fold), where first the binding of biotin-probe-labeled target oligo took place on the sensor surface, followed by the binding of the streptavidin magnetic beads onto the immobilized targets. Our experiments so far indicate that a simple coating procedure in combination with a relatively cost-efficient magnetic-bead-based signal amplification will provide robust SPR based nucleic acid sensing down to 0.5 nM of a 45-nucleotide long oligo target (7.2 ng/mL).
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