Micropatterning of aptamer beacons to create cytokine-sensing surfaces

Nazgul Tuleuova, Alexander Revzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Aptamer beacons are DNA or RNA probes that bind proteins or small molecules of interest and emit signal directly upon interaction with the target analyte. This paper describes micropatterning of aptamer beacons for detection of IFN-γ-an important inflammatory cytokine. The beacon consisted of a fluorophore-labeled aptamer strand hybridized with a shorter, quencher-carrying complementary strand. Cytokine molecules were expected to displace quenching strands of the beacon, disrupting FRET effect and resulting in fluorescence signal. The glass substrate was first micropatterned with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogel microwells (35 μm diameter individual wells) so as to define sites for attachment of beacon molecules. PEG microwell arrays were then incubated with avidin followed by biotin-aptamerfluorophore constructs. Subsequent incubation with quencher-carrying complementary strands resulted in formation of DNA duplex and caused quenching of fluorescence due to FRET effect. When exposed to IFN-γ, microwells changed fluorescence from low (quencher hybridized with fluorophore-carrying strand) to high (quenching strand displaced by cytokine molecules). The fluorescence signal was confined to microwells, was changing in real-time and was dependent on the concentration of IFN-γ. In the future, we plan to co-localize aptamer beacons and cells on micropatterned surfaces in order to monitor in real-time cytokine secretion from immune cells in microwells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Aptamers
  • Biosensors
  • Cell arrays
  • High-throughput screening
  • Surface micropatterning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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