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Open AccessArticle

Ultrasensitive Label-Free Sensing of IL-6 Based on PASE Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Micro-Arrays with RNA-Aptamers as Molecular Recognition Elements

Small Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA 01532, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ebrahim Ghafar-Zadeh
Biosensors 2017, 7(2), 17;
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Bio-Interfaces)
This study demonstrates the rapid and label-free detection of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) using carbon nanotube micro-arrays with aptamer as the molecular recognition element. Single wall carbon nanotubes micro-arrays biosensors were manufactured using photo-lithography, metal deposition, and etching techniques. Nanotube biosensors were functionalized with 1-Pyrenebutanoic Acid Succinimidyl Ester (PASE) conjugated IL-6 aptamers. Real time response of the sensor conductance was monitored with increasing concentration of IL-6 (1 pg/mL to 10 ng/mL), exposure to the sensing surface in buffer solution, and clinically relevant spiked blood samples. Non-specific Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA), PBS samples, and anti-IgG functionalized devices gave similar signatures in the real time conductance versus time experiments with no significant change in sensor signal. Exposure of the aptamer functionalized nanotube surface to IL-6 decreased the conductance with increasing concentration of IL-6. Experiments based on field effect transistor arrays suggested shift in drain current versus gate voltage for 1 pg and 1 ng of IL-6 exposure. Non-specific BSA did not produce any appreciable shift in the Ids versus Vg suggesting specific interactions of IL-6 on PASE conjugated aptamer surface gave rise to the change in electrical signal. Both Z axis and phase image in an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) suggested unambiguous molecular interaction of the IL-6 on the nanotube-aptamer surface at 1 pg/mL concentration. The concentration of 1 pg falls below the diagnostic gray zone for cancer (2.3 pg-4 ng/mL), which is an indicator of early stage cancer. Thus, nanotube micro-arrays could potentially be developed for creating multiplexed assays involving cancer biomarker proteins and possibly circulating tumor cells all in a single assay using PASE functionalization protocol. View Full-Text
Keywords: Carbon Nanotube Biosensors; IL6; Field Effect Transistors Carbon Nanotube Biosensors; IL6; Field Effect Transistors
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Khosravi, F.; Loeian, S.M.; Panchapakesan, B. Ultrasensitive Label-Free Sensing of IL-6 Based on PASE Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Micro-Arrays with RNA-Aptamers as Molecular Recognition Elements. Biosensors 2017, 7, 17.

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