Jackson State University
Faculty Sponsor's Department(s):
Chemistry and Biochemistry
SYNTHESIS OF CONJUGATED POLYMERS FOR APPLICATIONS IN DNA DETECTION
The detection of small quantities of biological targets has always imposed limitations on research and diagnostics. Currently, tests for the presence of DNA require that the DNA be amplified or grown in order to identify a specific target. In poorer countries, it is the cost of diagnosis and the time required to diagnose, not the therapeutic drugs, which often prevents treatment. Accuracy, selectivity, and repeatability have hindered the majority of current biosensors that have been proposed to resolve this diagnostic problem. In the research presented here, the Bazan lab has proposed a biosensor so sensitive and repeatable that the costly DNA amplification can be reduced and perhaps eliminated. The sequence-specific biosensor presented uses technology based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between cationic conjugated polymers (CCPs) and fluorescent dye-labeled peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes, which are synthetic analogues of DNA with a charge-neutral and peptide backbone. The CCPs binds to the DNA then it uses its light harvesting properties to transfer energy to amplify the signal of the dye when close enough, the PNA probes selectively identify DNA when complementary, and the fluorescent dye is an indicator which informs if the PNA is complementary or non-complementary.