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The amino acid glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter used in the nervous system for interneuronal communication. It is used throughout the brain by various neuronal pathways including those involved in learning and memory, locomotion, and sensory perception. Because glutamate is released from neurons on a millisecond time scale into sub-micrometer spaces, the development of a glutamate biosensor with high temporal and spatial resolution is of great interest for the study of neurological function and disease. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of an optical glutamate sensor based on the sol-gel encapsulation of the enzyme glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH). GDH catalyses the oxidative deamination of glutamate and the reduction of NAD+ to NADH. NADH fluorescence is the basis of the sensor detection. Thermodynamic and kinetic studies show that GDH remains active in the sol-gel matrix and that the reaction rate is correlated to the glutamate concentration.
The proteins copper-zinc Superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), cytochrome c,
myoglobin, hemoglobin, and bacterio-rhodopsin are encapsulated in stable,
optically transparent, porous, silica glass matrices prepared by the sol-gel
method such that the biomolecules retain their characteristic reactivities
and spectroscopic properties. The resulting glasses allow transport of small
molecules into and out of the glasses at reasonable rates but retain the
protein molecules within their pores. The transparency of the glasses
enables the chemical reactions of the immobilized proteins to be monitored
by means of changes in their visible absorption spectra. Silica glasses
containing the immobilized proteins have similar reactivities and
spectroscopic properties to those found for the proteins in solution. The
enzymes glucose oxidase and peroxidase were also encapsulated in transparent
silica glass matrices. Upon exposure to glucose solutions, a colored glass
is formed that can be used as the active element in a solid state optically
based glucose sensor. Likewise, gels containing oxalate oxidase and
peroxidase exhibit spectroscopic changes upon exposure to aqueous solutions
containing oxalic acid.
The fabrication of micron-scale channels and reaction chambers using micromachining techniques has created devices with large surface to volume ratios. As a result, surface properties play a major role in determining the behavior of micromachined devices. In this work, we present strategies that can be used to reconfigure surfaces from hydrophobic to hydrophilic or from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. The reversible nature of the surface is made possible by using deposition and removal of biomolecules or amphiphiles on self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). When the initial surface was hydrophobic (using a CH3-terminated SAM on the surface, water contact angle ∼100), it was rendered hydrophilic (water contact angle ≤60°) using monolayer adsorption of avidin protein. To retrieve the hydrophobicity, the avidin was subsequently removed using non-ionic surfactant octyl-β-D-glucopyranoside. Moreover, by incorporating a biotinylated poly(ethyleneglycol), the avidin-coated surface was resistant to further non-specific adsorption. If the initial surface was hydrophilic (using a CO2H-terminated SAM on the surface, water contact angle ≤20°), it was rendered hydrophobic (water contact angle >90°) using monolayer amphiphilic octadecylamine adsorption. The hydrophilicity was restored after subsequently removing the amphiphile using anionic surfactant sodium lauryl sulfate. Both types of surfaces showed excellent reversibility and demonstrated the ability to control surface wettability.
The process of encapsulating antibodies in sol-gel was used for sensing various hormones, specifically cortisol, insulin, and C-peptide. A sol-gel optical biosensor for cortisol has been developed for monitoring of crew health on-orbit during space missions. Our studies involving silica sol-gel materials with competitive immunoassays demonstrated linear calibration for cortisol in the range of 2-60 μg/dL, which covers the physiological range of cortisol blood concentration for an adult (2-28 μg/dL). The method of standard additions was used to analyze human serum samples sent to us from a NASA laboratory. Our sol-gel immunosensor values were typically within 20% of the values obtained by NASA-JSC using traditional immuno-binding techniques, with some values having less than a 5% error. Initial results are presented for sensing the hormones insulin and C-peptide.