doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.25 Published online 27 February 2018
Researchers have invented a sensitive biosensor that can detect a virulent gene specific to a fungus responsible for causing invasive aspergillosis1. This biosensor will be potentially useful for making an early diagnosis of this fungal disease.
Invasive aspergillosis is caused by a fungus known as Aspergillosis fumigatus, which infects the lungs. Existing methods for detecting this disease are complex and time-consuming.
In search of a fast and efficient sensor for detecting this fungal disease, scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, both in India, fabricated the biosensor using a chemical linker, chitosan-stabilised gold nanoparticles and glip gene, the fungus-specific genetic biomarker.
When exposed to a solution containing glip gene and other gene sequences, the sensor selectively bound to the glip gene. The sensor generated no signals when exposed to different kinds of gene sequences other than glip gene.
The sensor retained its stability for up to seven weeks. It owes its stability to the process of sensor fabrication that includes effective conjugation of the sensing components. Besides, it was found to be reusable for at least seven times, indicating its commercial viability.
“Besides being fast and cheap, the sensor could potentially be used to detect other genetic biomarkers in various clinical set-ups,” says Pranjal Chandra, one of the researchers from IIT, Guwahati.