Journal article

A microfluidic platform using molecular beacon-based temperature calibration for thermal dehybridization of surface-bound DNA

This work presents a simple microfluidic device with an integrated thin-film heater for studies of DNA hybridization kinetics and double-stranded DNA melting temperature measurements. The heating characteristics of the device were evaluated with a novel, noninvasive indirect technique using molecular beacons as temperature probes inside reaction chambers. This is the first microfluidic device in which thermal dehybridization of surface-bound oligonucleotides was performed for measurement of double-stranded DNA melting temperatures with ±1 °C precision. Surface modification and oligonucleotide immobilization were performed by continuously flowing reagents through the microchannels. The resulting reproducibility of oligonucleotide surface densities, at 9% RSD, was better than for the same modification chemistries on glass slides in unstirred reagent solutions (RSD = 20%). Moreover, the surface density of immobilized DNA probe molecules could be varied controllably by changing the concentration of the reagent solution used for immobilization. Thus, excellent control of surface characteristics was made possible, something which is often difficult to achieve with larger devices. Solid-phase hybridization reactions, a fundamental aspect of microarray technologies often taking several hours in conventional systems, were reduced to minutes in this device. It was also possible to determine forward rate constants for hybridization, k. These varied from 820 000 to 72 000 M -1 s-1, decreasing as surface densities increased. Surface densities could therefore be optimized to obtain rapid hybridization using such an approach. Taken together, this combined microfluidic/small-volume heating approach represents a powerful tool for surface-based DNA analysis.


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