Protein detection using tunable pores: resistive pulses and current rectification
We present the first comparison between assays that use resistive pulses or rectification ratios on a tunable pore platform. We compare their ability to quantify the cancer biomarker Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). The first assay measures the electrophoretic mobility of aptamer modified nanoparticles as they traverse the pore. By controlling the aptamer loading on the particle surface, and measuring the speed of each translocation event we are able to observe a change in velocity as low as 18 pM. A second non-particle assay exploits the current rectification properties of conical pores. We report the first use of Layer-by-Layer (LbL) assembly of polyelectrolytes onto the surface of the polyurethane pore. The current rectification ratios demonstrate the presence of the polymers, producing pH and ionic strength-dependent currents. The LbL assembly allows the facile immobilisation of DNA aptamers onto the pore allowing a specific dose response to VEGF. Monitoring changes to the current rectification allows for a rapid detection of 5 pM VEGF. Each assay format offers advantages in their setup and ease of preparation but comparable sensitivities.