Biochip design based on tailored ethylene glycols
Studies of biomolecular interactions are of interest for several reasons. Beside basic research, the knowledge gained from such studies is also very valuable in for example drug target identification. Medical care is another area where biomolecules may be used as biomarkers to aid physicians in making correct diagnosis. In addition, the highly specific interactions between antibodies and almost any substance opens up the possibilities to design systems for detection of trace amounts of both biological and non-biological substances within environmental restoration, law enforcement, correctional care, customs service and national security. A biochip, which contains a biologically active material, offers a means of monitoring the molecular interactions in the above applications in a sensitive and specific manner. The biochip is a key component of a biosensor, which also includes components for transforming the interaction events into a human-readable signal.This thesis describes the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) in biochip design. Two different approaches are presented, the first based on ethylene glycol (EG)-containing alkyl thiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on flat gold and the second on photo-induced graft copolymerisation of PEG-containing methacrylate monomers onto various substrates. The former is a two dimensional system where EG-terminated thiols are mixed with similar thiols presenting tail groups that mimic the explosive substance 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). In an immunoassay, the detection limit for TNT was determined to fall in the range 1-10 µg/L. In the second approach, a branched three dimensional biosensor matrix (hydrogel) is proposed. The carboxymethylated (CM) dextran matrix, which is commonly used within the biosensing community, is not always ideal for studies of biointeractions, due to the non-specific binding frequently encountered in work with complex biological solutions and various proteins. To employ PEG, which displays a low non-specific binding of such species, is therefore an interesting option worth investigating. The use of a branched graft polymerised PEG matrix in biosensor applications is novel as compared to previous reports which have focused on linear PEG chains. The latter approach provides, at maximum, one functional group, per surface anchoring point, for immobilisation of sensor elements. Thus, it has the inherited disadvantage that it limits the number of available immobilisation sites. The present PEG matrix contains a large number of functional groups, for immobilisation of sensor elements, per grafting site and offers the potential of improved response upon binding to the analyte as demonstrated in a series of successful sensor experiments.Furthermore, the nature of the process enables easy preparation of matrix patterns and gradients. In a PEG matrix gradient, protein permeability is studied and the capabilities of immobilising proteins are demonstrated. By combining the patterning technique with different monomers in a two-step process, an inert platform, lacking chemical attachment sites, is provided with arrays of spots (with immobilisation capabilities), which are conveniently addressed via microdispensing and used for biosensor purposes. The EG-terminated thiols present another means of generating such inert platforms, a route which is also investigated. To further explore the sensor quality of these spots, the concepts of patterning and gradient formation are combined and studied.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Biosensor; biochip; poly(ethylene glycol); self-assembled monolayer; photopolymerisation; microarray; biomolecular interaction; explosives detection
Date of Publication:01/01/2007