Development of muliplexed analytical methods based on bioluminescent whole-cell biosensors

Cevenini, Luca (2010) Development of muliplexed analytical methods based on bioluminescent whole-cell biosensors , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chimiche, 22 Ciclo.
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The subject of this Ph.D. research thesis is the development and application of multiplexed analytical methods based on bioluminescent whole-cell biosensors. One of the main goals of analytical chemistry is multianalyte testing in which two or more analytes are measured simultaneously in a single assay. The advantages of multianalyte testing are work simplification, high throughput, and reduction in the overall cost per test. The availability of multiplexed portable analytical systems is of particular interest for on-field analysis of clinical, environmental or food samples as well as for the drug discovery process. To allow highly sensitive and selective analysis, these devices should combine biospecific molecular recognition with ultrasensitive detection systems. To address the current need for rapid, highly sensitive and inexpensive devices for obtaining more data from each sample,genetically engineered whole-cell biosensors as biospecific recognition element were combined with ultrasensitive bioluminescence detection techniques. Genetically engineered cell-based sensing systems were obtained by introducing into bacterial, yeast or mammalian cells a vector expressing a reporter protein whose expression is controlled by regulatory proteins and promoter sequences. The regulatory protein is able to recognize the presence of the analyte (e.g., compounds with hormone-like activity, heavy metals…) and to consequently activate the expression of the reporter protein that can be readily measured and directly related to the analyte bioavailable concentration in the sample. Bioluminescence represents the ideal detection principle for miniaturized analytical devices and multiplexed assays thanks to high detectability in small sample volumes allowing an accurate signal localization and quantification. In the first chapter of this dissertation is discussed the obtainment of improved bioluminescent proteins emitting at different wavelenghts, in term of increased thermostability, enhanced emission decay kinetic and spectral resolution. The second chapter is mainly focused on the use of these proteins in the development of whole-cell based assay with improved analytical performance. In particular since the main drawback of whole-cell biosensors is the high variability of their analyte specific response mainly caused by variations in cell viability due to aspecific effects of the sample’s matrix, an additional bioluminescent reporter has been introduced to correct the analytical response thus increasing the robustness of the bioassays. The feasibility of using a combination of two or more bioluminescent proteins for obtaining biosensors with internal signal correction or for the simultaneous detection of multiple analytes has been demonstrated by developing a dual reporter yeast based biosensor for androgenic activity measurement and a triple reporter mammalian cell-based biosensor for the simultaneous monitoring of two CYP450 enzymes activation, involved in cholesterol degradation, with the use of two spectrally resolved intracellular luciferases and a secreted luciferase as a control for cells viability. In the third chapter is presented the development of a portable multianalyte detection system. In order to develop a portable system that can be used also outside the laboratory environment even by non skilled personnel, cells have been immobilized into a new biocompatible and transparent polymeric matrix within a modified clear bottom black 384 -well microtiter plate to obtain a bioluminescent cell array. The cell array was placed in contact with a portable charge-coupled device (CCD) light sensor able to localize and quantify the luminescent signal produced by different bioluminescent whole-cell biosensors. This multiplexed biosensing platform containing whole-cell biosensors was successfully used to measure the overall toxicity of a given sample as well as to obtain dose response curves for heavy metals and to detect hormonal activity in clinical samples (PCT/IB2010/050625: “Portable device based on immobilized cells for the detection of analytes.” Michelini E, Roda A, Dolci LS, Mezzanotte L, Cevenini L , 2010). At the end of the dissertation some future development steps are also discussed in order to develop a point of care (POCT) device that combine portability, minimum sample pre-treatment and highly sensitive multiplexed assays in a short assay time. In this POCT perspective, field-flow fractionation (FFF) techniques, in particular gravitational variant (GrFFF) that exploit the earth gravitational field to structure the separation, have been investigated for cells fractionation, characterization and isolation. Thanks to the simplicity of its equipment, amenable to miniaturization, the GrFFF techniques appears to be particularly suited for its implementation in POCT devices and may be used as pre-analytical integrated module to be applied directly to drive target analytes of raw samples to the modules where biospecifc recognition reactions based on ultrasensitive bioluminescence detection occurs, providing an increase in overall analytical output.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Cevenini, Luca
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze chimiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
3 Giugno 2010

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