Probing the size of proteins with glass nanopores†
Single molecule studies using nanopores have gained attention due to the ability to sense single molecules in aqueous solution without the need to label them. In this study, short DNA molecules and proteins were detected with glass nanopores, whose sensitivity was enhanced by electron reshaping which decreased the nanopore diameter and created geometries with a reduced sensing length. Further, proteins having molecular weights (MW) ranging from 12 kDa to 480 kDa were detected, which showed that their corresponding current peak amplitude changes according to their MW. In the case of the 12 kDa ComEA protein, its DNA-binding properties to an 800 bp long DNA molecule was investigated. Moreover, the influence of the pH on the charge of the protein was demonstrated by showing a change in the translocation direction. This work emphasizes the wide spectrum of detectable molecules using nanopores from glass nanocapillaries, which stand out because of their inexpensive, lithography-free, and rapid manufacturing process.