Hybridization chain reaction performed on a metal surface as a means of signal amplification in SPR and electrochemical biosensors
A more specific and intense signal is desirable for most kinds of biosensors for biomedical or environmental applications, and it is especially so for label-free biosensors. In this paper, we show that hybridization chain reaction (HCR) can be exploited for the easily detectable accumulation of nucleic acids on metal surfaces as an event triggered by specific recognition between a probe and a target nucleic acid. We show that this process could be exploited to increase the sensitivity in the detection of nucleic acids derived from a pathogenic microorganism. This strategy can be straightforwardly implemented on SPR biosensors (commercial or custom-built) or on label-free electrochemical biosensors. Together with signal amplification, HCR can serve as a confirmation of the specificity of target recognition, as it involves the specific matching with a separate base sequence in the target nucleic acid. Furthermore, the kinetics of the target binding and the HCR can be easily distinguished from each other, providing an additional means of confirmation of the specific recognition. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.