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High density single-molecule-bead arrays for parallel single molecule force spectroscopy



High density single-molecule-bead arrays for parallel single molecule force spectroscopy



Analytical Chemistry 84(11): 4907-4914



The assembly of a highly parallel force spectroscopy tool requires careful placement of single-molecule targets on the substrate and the deliberate manipulation of a multitude of force probes. Since the probe must approach the target biomolecule for covalent attachment, while avoiding irreversible adhesion to the substrate, the use of polymer microspheres as force probes to create the tethered bead array poses a problem. Therefore, the interactions between the force probe and the surface must be repulsive at very short distances (<5 nm) and attractive at long distances. To achieve this balance, the chemistry of the substrate, force probe, and solution must be tailored to control the probe-surface interactions. In addition to an appropriately designed chemistry, it is necessary to control the surface density of the target molecule in order to ensure that only one molecule is interrogated by a single force probe. We used gold-thiol chemistry to control both the substrate's surface chemistry and the spacing of the studied molecules, through binding of the thiol-terminated DNA and an inert thiol forming a blocking layer. For our single molecule array, we modeled the forces between the probe and the substrate using DLVO theory and measured their magnitude and direction with colloidal probe microscopy. The practicality of each system was tested using a probe binding assay to evaluate the proportion of the beads remaining adhered to the surface after application of force. We have translated the results specific for our system to general guiding principles for preparation of tethered bead arrays and demonstrated the ability of this system to produce a high yield of active force spectroscopy probes in a microwell substrate. This study outlines the characteristics of the chemistry needed to create such a force spectroscopy array.

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Accession: 053533431

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22548234

DOI: 10.1021/ac3001622


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