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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 29;97(18):10113-9.

Immunoassays with rolling circle DNA amplification: a versatile platform for ultrasensitive antigen detection.

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  • 1Molecular Staging Incorporated, 66 High Street, Guilford, CT 06437; Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


We describe an adaptation of the rolling circle amplification (RCA) reporter system for the detection of protein Ags, termed "immunoRCA. " In immunoRCA, an oligonucleotide primer is covalently attached to an Ab; thus, in the presence of circular DNA, DNA polymerase, and nucleotides, amplification results in a long DNA molecule containing hundreds of copies of the circular DNA sequence that remain attached to the Ab and that can be detected in a variety of ways. Using immunoRCA, analytes were detected at sensitivities exceeding those of conventional enzyme immunoassays in ELISA and microparticle formats. The signal amplification afforded by immunoRCA also enabled immunoassays to be carried out in microspot and microarray formats with exquisite sensitivity. When Ags are present at concentrations down to fM levels, specifically bound Abs can be scored by counting discrete fluorescent signals arising from individual Ag-Ab complexes. Multiplex immunoRCA also was demonstrated by accurately quantifying Ags mixed in different ratios in a two-color, single-molecule-counting assay on a glass slide. ImmunoRCA thus combines high sensitivity and a very wide dynamic range with an unprecedented capability for single molecule detection. This Ag-detection method is of general applicability and is extendable to multiplexed immunoassays that employ a battery of different Abs, each labeled with a unique oligonucleotide primer, that can be discriminated by a color-coded visualization system. ImmunoRCA-profiling based on the simultaneous quantitation of multiple Ags should expand the power of immunoassays by exploiting the increased information content of ratio-based expression analysis.

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