The homogeneous immunosensor design described here utilizes the bivalent nature of the antibody. Antigen peptide is conjugated using flexible linkers with short complementary oligonucleotides (signaling oligonucleotides), each of which containing a fluorochrome that can form a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) donor-acceptor pair. The complementary signaling oligonucleotides are short enough to prevent their annealing on their own. Binding of the peptide-signaling oligonucleotide constructs to bivalent antibody results in a large increase in local concentration of signaling oligonucleotides causing their annealing and appearance of FRET signal. We used simple model system (antibiotin antibody) to obtain proof-of-principle validation of the sensor design. We then constructed two sensors based on two peptides corresponding to the antigens of two antibodies raised against human cardiac troponin I. We demonstrated that these sensors could be used for sensitive detection of the antibody and for competition-based detection of the intact troponin I. Furthermore, we showed that these sensors could be used for detection of kinase activity targeting the antigen peptide. These simple and robust immunosensors may find applications in antibody detection (for example, in diagnosis of autoimmune or infectious disease), in protein detection (especially when speed of detection is essential), and in assays for detecting enzymatic activities involved in post-translational modifications of proteins.
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