Research & Teaching Faculty

Application of FRET Microscopy to the Study of the Local Environment and Dynamics of DNA SAMs on Au Electrodes

TitleApplication of FRET Microscopy to the Study of the Local Environment and Dynamics of DNA SAMs on Au Electrodes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsVerhaven, A, Doneux, T, Bizzotto, D

Immobilized DNA probe strands self-assembled on an electrode surface are the bases of many electrochemically based biosensors. Control or measurement of the local environment around each DNA molecule tethered to the electrode surface is needed because the local environment can influence the binding or hybridization efficiency of the target in solution. Measurement of this local environment in buffer or under electrochemical control can be challenging. Here we demonstrate the use of fluorescence microscopy and a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) methodology to characterize multicomponent DNA SAMs. The DNA SAMs that were studied were composed of a series of mole fraction ratios of alkylthiol-modified DNA which was labeled with either AlexaFluor488 or AlexaFluor647, a FRET donor and acceptor, respectively. The DNA SAMs were hybridized before assembly onto the electrode surface. Wide-field filter-based FRET microscopy was used to study the assembly of DNA SAMs onto gold bead electrodes. These single-crystal gold bead electrodes contain many surface crystallographic regions which enable the comparison of the adsorbed DNA local environment. These surfaces show that most surface modifications are uniformly prepared, and the FRET efficiency can be explained through simple surface density considerations. The FRET efficiency for different compositions of the donor and acceptor for these regions is also explained through 2D FRET modeling. Not all surfaces were similar to the (111) and (110) regions showing deviations from the expected FRET behavior. Also demonstrated is FRET imaging using a confocal microscope. This approach proves useful in the analysis of a more dynamic system, such as the analysis of reductive desorption of the mixed-component DNA SAM. FRET microscopy is useful for surface analysis of the DNA local environment, enabling a measure of the surface modification, local density, and clustering and eventually a new detection modality.

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