We will report on the use of tools and concepts of nanotechnology to create some of the first generation of practical bioanalytical nanosystems. Two general strategies will be discussed. The first is a method for multiplexed bioaffinity analysis. BioForce Nanosciences, Inc. has developed a device and methodology for precisely placing attoliter to femtoliter volumes of biomolecules in ultraminiaturized domains1, allowing the construction of arrays with hundreds of domains in the same surface space occupied by a standard microarray spot. This spatial size is ideal because it permits acquisition of statistically meaningful data by a number of methods, both conventional (fluorescence) and forward-looking (AFM). Other highlights of this system include the conservation of precious samples and the means to carry out assays on single cells, attributes that are essential for the creation of minimally invasive biodiagnostic and biomarker screening tests2. The second strategy is a pathogen detection system based on affinity capture and AFM analysis, called the ViriChip3,4. AFM is an ideal analytical tool for this type of testing because many pathogens (viruses) are too small for optical analysis, but give strong signals in the AFM. Moreover, AFM detection is amplification independent and requires no molecular tagging system, two pitfalls of current viral identification methods.
1. Xu J, Lynch M, Huff JL, Mosher C, Vengasandra S, Ding G, Henderson E (2004) Microfabricated quill-type surface patterning tools for the creation of biological micro/nano arrays. J. Biomedical Microdevices6:117-123.
2. Lynch M, Mosher C, Huff J, Nettikadan S, Johnson J, Henderson E (2004) Functional protein nanoarrays for biomarker profiling. Proteomics4: in press.
3. Nettikadan SR, Johnson JC, Mosher C, Henderson E (2003) Virus particle detection by solid phase immunocapture and atomic force microscopy. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm.311:540-545.
4. Nettikadan SR, Johnson JC, Vengasandra SG, Muys J, Henderson E (2004) ViriChip: a solid phase assay for detection and identification of viruses by atomic force microscopy. Nanotechnology15:383-389.