Publication Title: Acoustic Methodology for Selecting Highly Dissipative Probes for Ultrasensitive DNA Detection

Journal:  Analytical Chemistry 2020 92 (12), 8186-8193

Communication Type: Scientific Publication

By: Dimitra Milioni, Pablo Mateos-Gil, George Papadakis, Achilleas Tsortos, Olga Sarlidou, and Electra Gizeli
Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, FORTH, , Greece

DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c00366


The objective of this work is to present a methodology for the selection of nanoparticles such as liposomes to be used as acoustic probes for the detection of very low concentrations of DNA. Liposomes, applied in the past as mass amplifiers and detected through frequency measurement, are employed in the current work as probes for energy-dissipation enhancement. Because the dissipation signal is related to the structure of the sensed nanoentity, a systematic investigation of the geometrical features of the liposome/DNA complex was carried out. We introduce the parameter of dissipation capacity by which several sizes of liposome and DNA structures were compared with respect to their ability to dissipate acoustic energy at the level of a single molecule/particle. Optimized 200 nm liposomes anchored to a dsDNA chain led to an improvement of the limit of detection (LoD) by 3 orders of magnitude when compared to direct DNA detection, with the new LoD being 1.2 fmol (or 26 fg/μL or 2 pM). Dissipation monitoring was also shown to be 8 times more sensitive than the corresponding frequency response. The high versatility of this new methodology is demonstrated in the detection of genetic biomarkers down to 1–2 target copies in real samples such as blood. This study offers new prospects in acoustic detection with potential use in real-world diagnostics.