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safeDNA - self-assembled fluorescence enhancers for the Detection of Nucleic Acids (SAFEDNA)
Date du début: 1 févr. 2014, Date de fin: 31 juil. 2015 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

In this project we will prepare the commercialization of a new patent-protected signal amplification scheme for simpler and faster molecular diagnostics of pathogens such as Chlamydia trachomatis (CT). CT causes more cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) than any other bacterial pathogen, making CT infections an enormous public health problem throughout the world. Nowadays, diagnosis is commonly carried out using nucleic acid detection by fluorescence readout after polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, DNA amplification requires technical equipment too sophisticated for application in developing countries or in standard labs in a medical practice. For cheaper, faster and even point-of-care diagnostics, a simpler amplification mechanism for a testing method capable of detecting DNA in small concentration is required.Here, we suggest applying a new and universal signal amplifying approach that does not require any extra steps after target recognition. It relies on direct enhancement of the fluorescence readout signal using a self-assembled nanolens that was invented within the framework of the ERC starting grant SiMBA. The self-assembled nanolens is capable of enhancing the intensity of fluorescent dyes in a nanosized hotspot by more than two orders of magnitude. Further enhancement is conceivable. Braunschweig University of Technology has filed a broad patent application securing intellectual property rights for the project.We will test this direct fluorescence enhancement scheme for the fast and sensitive detection of CT. Therefore, the self-assembled nanolens will be adapted for the detection of a CT target DNA by equipping the nanosized hotspot of the nanolens with probe DNA sequences. The target is then visualized by sandwich hybridization of a second specific, fluorescently labeled DNA strand. We envision an improved test for CT detection: it should be faster, simpler and price-competitive.