E-DNA scaffold sensors and the reagentless, single-step, measurement of HIV-diagnostic antibodies in human serum

Claudio Parolo, Ava S. Greenwood, Nathan E. Ogden, Di Kang, Chase Hawes, Gabriel Ortega, Netzahualcóyotl Arroyo-Currás, Kevin W. Plaxco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The multiplexed, point-of-care measurement of specific antibodies could improve the speed with which diseases are diagnosed and their treatment initiated. To this end, we are developing E-DNA scaffold sensors, which consist of a rigid, nucleic acid “scaffold” attached on one end to an electrode and presenting both a redox reporter and an epitope on the other. In the absence of antibody, the reporter efficiently transfers electrons when interrogated electrochemically. Binding-induced steric hindrance limits movement, reducing electron transfer in a manner that is both easily measured and quantitatively related to target concentration. Previously we have used monoclonal antibodies to explore the analytical performance of E-DNA sensors, showing that they support the rapid, single-step, quantitative detection of multiple antibodies in small volume samples. Here, in contrast, we employ authentic human samples to better explore the platform’s clinical potential. Specifically, we developed E-DNA sensors targeting three HIV-specific antibodies and then compared the analytical and clinical performance of these against those of gold standard serological techniques. Doing so we find that, although the multistep amplification of an ELISA leads to a lower detection limits, the clinical sensitivity of ELISAs, E-DNA sensors and lateral-flow dipsticks are indistinguishable across our test set. It thus appears that, by merging the quantitation and multiplexing of ELISAs with the convenience and speed of dipsticks, E-DNA scaffold sensors could significantly improve on current serological practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalMicrosystems and Nanoengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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