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Biosens Bioelectron. 2006 Feb 15;21(8):1574-80. Epub 2005 Aug 29.

Detecting minimal traces of DNA using DNA covalently attached to superparamagnetic nanoparticles and direct PCR-ELISA.

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  • 1Laboratorio de Tecnología Enzimática, Departamento de Biocatálisis, Instituto de Catálisis y Petroleoquímica-CSIC, Campus UAM, Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.


A single bond covalent immobilization of aminated DNA probes on magnetic particles suitable for selective molecular hybridization of traces of DNA samples has been developed. Commercial superparamagnetic nanoparticles containing amino groups were activated by coating with a hetero-functional polymer (aldehyde-aspartic-dextran). This new immobilization procedure provides many practical advantages: (a) DNA probes are immobilized far from the support surface preventing steric hindrances; (b) the surface of the nanoparticles cannot adsorb DNA ionically; (c) DNA probes are bound via a very strong covalent bond (a secondary amine) providing very stable immobilized probes (at 100 degrees C, or in 70% formamide, or 0.1N NaOH). Due to the extreme sensitivity of this purification procedure based on DNA hybridization, the detection of hybridized products could be coupled to a PCR-ELISA direct amplification of the DNA bond to the magnetic nanoparticles. As a model system, an aminated DNA probe specific for detecting Hepatitis C Virus cDNA was immobilized according to the optimised procedure described herein. Superparamagnetic nanoparticles containing the immobilized HCV probe were able to give a positive result after PCR-ELISA detection when hybridized with 1 mL of solution containing 10(-18) g/mL of HCV cDNA (two molecules of HCV cDNA). In addition, the detection of HCV cDNA was not impaired by the addition to the sample solution of 2.5 million-fold excess of non-complementary DNA. The experimental data supports the use of magnetic nanoparticles containing DNA probes immobilized by the procedure here described as a convenient and extremely sensitive procedure for purification/detection DNA/RNA from biological samples. The concentration/purification potential of the magnetic nanoparticles, its stability under a wide range of conditions, coupled to the possibility of using the particles directly in amplification by PCR greatly reinforces this methodology as a molecular diagnostic tool.

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