Molecular diagnostics of microbial pathogens is an integral part of modern medicine. The growing need for direct genotyping and/or the screening of the transcriptome calls for the development of alternative technologies. The SLIC consortium planned to develop a cost-effective platform for the identification bacterial species based on the SLIC-Nanobiosystem.
Using tmRNA transcripts of the bacterial ssrA gene, the project partners were able to detect, quantify and identify bacterial species in a single homogenous assay format. The SLIC-Nanobiosystem consists of a self-assembled lipid bilayer membrane that integrates a synthetic ligand-gated ion channel (SLIC). The SLIC comprises a capture molecule that can specifically bind a given analyte, a process that is monitored via electrical impedance spectroscopy. With this system, the effect from even a few channels can be resolved, thus providing an ultra-sensitive, highly stable and versatile biosensor platform.
The consortium planned to employ transcripts (tmRNA) of the ssrA gene to identify bacterial species present in clinical samples. These transcripts occur in high abundance and contain a core sequence that is species specific, a feature that was used to identify infectious disease pathogens.
SLIC targeted the development of a cost-effective platform for the identification of bacterial species based on the SLIC-Nanobiosystem.
The identification of the different bacterial tmRNA transcripts would be achieved by displaying a library of nucleic acid capture probes on the SLIC. This will enable species identification and discrimination between one or more species present in the sample if mixed species infection is present.
Since the detection equipment will be based on electronics, the realisation of miniaturised/compact and cost-effective instruments will be possible.
The consortium's approach will lay the foundation for a new generation of multiparametric molecular testing systems that will open novel opportunities within the area of point-of-care applications in the clinical diagnostics market.