In previous publications we have shown that we can perform enzymatic reactions in nanoarrays by means of a microarray-reader based on a conventional microscope. In this publication we report on a modification of this system in order to monitor the aggregation kinetics of the natively unfolded protein α-synuclein. We describe the motivation for this development, the problems associated with the miniaturization of the aggregation assay, and the validation of our modifications.
In previous publications and presentations we have described our construction of a laboratory-on-a-chip based on nanoliter capacity wells etched in silicon. We have described methods for dispensing reagents as well as samples, for preventing evaporation, for embedding electronics in each well to measure fluid volume per well in real-time, and for monitoring the production or consumption of NADH in enzyme-catalyzed reactions such as those found in the glycolytic pathway of yeast. In this paper we describe the use of light sensors (photodiodes) in each well to measure both fluorescence (such as that evidenced in NADH) as well as bioluminescence (such as evidenced in ATP assays). We show that our detection limit for NADH fluorescence in 100 μM and for ATP/luciferase bioluminescence is 2.4 μM.
Yeast-Saccharomyces cerevisiae - it widely used as a model system for other higher eukaryotes, including man. One of the basic fermentation processes in yeast is the glycolytic pathway, which is the conversion of glucose to ethanol and carbon dioxide. This pathway consists of 12 enzyme-catalyzed reactions. With the approach of microarray technology we want to explore the metabolic regulation of this pathway in yeast. This paper will focus on the design of a conventional microscope based microarray reader, which is used to monitor these enzymatic reactions in microarrays. These microarrays are fabricated in silicon and have sizes of 300 by 300 micrometers <SUP>2</SUP>. The depth varies from 20 to 50 micrometers . Enzyme activity levels can be derived by monitoring the production or consumption rate of NAD(P)H, which is excited at 360nm and emits around 450nm. This fluorophore is involved in all 12 reactions of the pathway. The microarray reader is equipped with a back-illuminated CCD camera in order to obtain a high quantum efficiency for the lower wavelengths. The dynamic range of our microarray reader varies form 5(mu) Molar to 1mMolar NAD(P)H. With this microarray reader enzyme activity levels down to 0.01 unit per milliliter can be monitored. The acquisition time per well is 0.1s. The total scan cycle time for a 5 X 5 microarray is less than half a minute. The number of cycles for a proper estimation of the enzyme activity is inversely proportional to the enzyme activity: long measurement times are needed to determine low enzyme activity levels.
This paper explores the use of photo patternable polymers for integrated high-speed screening arrays, where enzyme reactions are monitored in nano liter volume reactors using fluorescence of NADH and photodiode detection. Implementing the array of nano liter volume wells using a low-temperature CMOS-compatible process allows wells to be patterned after the photodiode array and electronics fabrication is completed. We demonstrate filling of 400 X 400 micron square, 25 micron deep photoresist-on-silicon wells with liquid samples by electro spray and wetting. We also demonstrate usability of the wells on NADH samples by measuring the fluorescence of 0.1, 0.5 and 1 millimolar NADH solutions using external optics.
We are developing a method for high-throughput screening using arrays of `nanowells' built into a silicon substrate. These wells can serve as bioreactors for studying a variety of biochemical reactions such as the enzymatic activity that occurs in yeast metabolism. For a variety of studies it is important to know the volume of liquid that has been deposited in a given well and/or to monitor the evaporation of the liquid. Using silicon as our substrate means that we can take advantage of the ability to build microelectronics into the wells in order to develop `smart' wells.
The goal of our TU Delft interfaculty research program is to develop intelligent molecular diagnostic systems (IMDS) that can analyze liquid samples that contain a variety of biochemical compounds such as those associated with fermentation processes. One specific project within the IMDS program focuses on photon sensors. In order to analyze the liquid samples we use dedicated microarrays. At this stage, these are basically miniaturized micro titre plates. Typical dimensions of a vial are 200 X 200 X 20 micrometer<SUP>3</SUP>. These dimensions may be varied and the shape of the vials can be modified with a result that the volume of the vials varies from 0.5 to 1.6 nl. For all experiments, we have used vials with the shape of a truncated pyramid. These vials are fabricated in silicon by a wet etching process. For testing purposes the vials are filled with rhodamine solutions of various concentrations. To avoid evaporation glycerol-water (1:1, v/v) with a viscosity of 8.3 times the viscosity of water is used as solvent. We aim at wide field-of-view imaging at the expense of absolute sensitivity: the field-of-view increases quadratically with decreasing magnification. Small magnification, however, implies low Numerical Aperture (NA). The ability of a microscope objective to collect photons is proportional to the square of the NA. To image the entire microarray we have used an epi-illumination fluorescence microscope equipped with a low magnification (2.5 X/0.075) objective and a scientific CCD camera to integrate the photons emitted from the fluorescing particles in the solutions in the vials. From these experiments we found that for this setup the detection limit is on the order of micromolar concentrations of fluorescing particles. This translates to 10<SUP>8</SUP> molecules per vial.
Intelligent Molecular Diagnostic Systems (IMDS)- The objective of this multidisciplinary research program is to design and develop an analytical system that is able to measure and interpret concentrations of various analytes which are dispensed on a micro-array. The analytes are detected by means of fluorescence or (chemi)luminescence measurement. Furthermore, the collected data are combined and interpreted using modern reasoning techniques. Micro-injection- Dispensing picoliters (pl) of reagents (enzymes, antibodies, etc.) and liquid samples on a micro-array requires special techniques. At the moment we are working on a technique which will allow for accurately dispensing liquid volumes less than 100 pl on a micro-array. Detection of (beta) -D-glucose- (beta) -D-glucose standards are dispensed on a micro-array, after which a solution of Amplex Red reagent, horse radish peroxidase (HARP), and glucose oxidase in a mixture of ethylene glycol and water is added. Ethylene glycol is added to prevent evaporation. The (beta) -D-glucose reacts with glucose oxidase to D-gluconolactone and H<SUB>2</SUB>O<SUB>2</SUB>. The H<SUB>2</SUB>O<SUB>2</SUB> reacts with 10-acetyl-3,7-dihydroxyphenoxazine (Amplex Red) with a 1:1 stoichiometry to produce highly fluorescent resorufin. The formation of resorufin with time is followed with a Zeiss Axioskop microscope equipped with a KAF Photometrics CCD camera, in order to determine the sensitivity, concentrations, and volumes associated with the dispensed fluids.