Ligase Detection Reaction Generation of Reverse Molecular Beacons for Near Real-Time Analysis of Bacterial Pathogens using Single-Pair FRET and a COC Microfluidic Chip

 Detection of pathogenic bacteria and viruses require strategies that can signal the presence of these targets in near real-time due to the potential threats created by rapid dissemination into water and/or food supplies. In this paper, we report an innovative strategy that can rapidly detect bacterial pathogens using reporter sequences found in their genome without requiring PCR. A pair of strain-specific primers was designed based on the 16S rRNA gene and were end-labeled with a donor (Cy5) or acceptor (Cy5.5) dye. In the presence of the target bacterium, the primers were joined using a ligase detection reaction (LDR) only when the primers were completely complementary to the target sequence to form a reverse molecular beacon (rMB), thus bringing Cy5 (donor) and Cy5.5 (acceptor) into close proximity to allow fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to occur. These rMBs were subsequently analyzed using single-molecule detection of the FRET pairs (single-pair FRET; spFRET). The LDR was performed using a continuous flow thermal cycling process configured in a Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC) microfluidic device using either 2 or 20 thermal cycles. Single-molecule photon bursts from the resulting rMBs were detected on-chip and registered using a simple laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) instrument. The spFRET signatures from the target pathogens were reported in as little as 2.6 min using spFRET.

Analytical Chemistry, accepted