Contact: Gail Gallessich
University of California - Santa Barbara
Caption: An electrochemical DNA-switch (red ribbon) detects its target antibody (green) directly in blood. By mimicking nature's own sensing mechanisms, Vallée-Bélisle, Plaxco and Ricci have built a synthetic molecular switch that enables the fast and convenient detection of diagnostically relevant antibodies. The sensing principle is straightforward: Upon antibody binding, the switch opens and separates a signaling element (bright circle) from the surface of an underlying electrode. This causes a signal change that can be easily measured using inexpensive devices similar to those used in the home glucose self-test meter. Using these "nature-inspired" nanoswitches the researchers were able to detect anti-HIV antibodies directly in whole blood in less than five minutes.
Credit: Peter Allen
Usage Restrictions: None
Related news release: Bioengineers at UCSB design rapid diagnostic tests inspired by nature