Biosensors for Cell Analysis

Biosensing approaches allow for the detection of changes in cell phenotype and function in the context of the local microenvironment. One direction being pursued actively by the Cellular Microsystems and Biosensors Laboratory is to integrate miniature biosensors next to cells to detect local, nonsteady signals secreted by the cells.

An approach utilized extensively by the lab relies on aptamer-based biosensors. As shown in Figure 4, aptamers are nucleic acids selected to bind specific target molecules. Tagging aptamers with electroactive reporters and immobilizing them on electrode surface results in a biosensor that produces an electrochemical signal in the presence of a target analyte without additional washing or labeling steps.

The research team has employed aptamer biosensors of this type to detect release of TGF-β and TNF-α from injured or activated cells. In addition to aptamer-based biosensors, researchers have employed enzyme- and peptide-containing biosensors for detection of oxidative stress, energy metabolites and proteases released by cells.

Key publications

Liu Y, Tuleuova N, Ramanculov E, Revzin A. Aptamer-based electrochemical biosensor for interferon gamma detection. Analytical Chemistry. 2010;82:8131.

Matharu Z, Patel D, Gao Y, Haque A, Zhou Q, Revzin A. Detecting transforming growth factor-β release from liver cells using an aptasensor integrated with microfluidics. Analytical Chemistry. 2014;86:8865.

Liu Y, Liu Y, Matharu Z, Rahimian A, Revzin A. Detecting multiple cell-secreted cytokines from the same aptamer-functionalized electrode. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 2015;64:43.

Son KJ, Rahimian A, Shin DS, Siltanen C, Patel T, Revzin A. Microfluidic compartments with sensing microbeads for dynamic monitoring of cytokine and exosome release from single cells. Analyst. 2016;141:679.