Engineered protein channels have many potential applications in biosensing at the single-molecule level. A future generation of biosensor could be an array of target-specific ion channels, where each protein pore acts as a sensor element. An important step toward this goal is to create a portable, durable, single-protein channel-integrated chip device. Here we report a versatile, modular chip that contains a single-ion channel for single-molecular biosensing. The core of the device is a long-lived lipid membrane that has been sandwiched between two air-insulated agarose layers which gel in situ. A single-protein pore embedded in the membrane serves as the sensor element. The modular device is highly portable, allowing a single-ion channel to continuously function following detachment of the chip from the instrument and independent transportation of the device. The chip also exhibits high durability, which is evidenced from long-duration continuous observation of single-channel dynamics. Once engineered protein pores are installed, the chip becomes a robust stochastic sensor for real-time targeting such as detection of the second messenger IP3. This pluggable biochip could be incorporated with many applicable devices, such as a microfluidic system, and be made into a microarray for both biomedical detection and membrane protein research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry