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ITQB researchers integrate RTN in redox enzymology

New concept for biosensors applications

The Single Molecule Processes Lab, headed by Yann Astier, at ITQB is the new partner in the EdRox Network. EdRox stands for training and research in redox enzymology and is a Marie Curie Research Training Network committed to provide state-of-the-art training in bio-nanotechnology to early stage researchers. Both early stage and experienced researchers will be engaged in the development and implementation of the FluoRox principle - a method for fluorometric detection of redox-enzyme activity at the single molecule level- into a working prototype of a FluoRox biosensor.

Redox reactions present one of the most common types of reaction in the living cell and the inanimate world. The ability to monitor these reactions with high sensitivity is scientifically and commercially of tremendous importance. Increasing the sensitivity by one to three orders of magnitude will enable the detection of trace amounts of pollutants and the detection of diseases at an early stage. It will have an impact on environmental issues and medic care. The project combines the success of the amperometric methods (as exploited in the well-known glucose sensor) with the extreme sensitivity of optical detection.

The principle of this new method has been established and its development requires the effort of a Europe-wide consortium with expertise in the fields of biotechnology, nanofabrication, materials science, nanoelectronics, biochemistry and biophysics. The project aims to develop this method into a platform technology that allows the application of a range of enzymes in biosensors for the detection of analytes. The sensitivity to be reached will exceed that of currently available sensors.

One of the problems to be solved in these devices is the loss of enzyme activity (up to 95%) once they are immobilised. Participating in this network through the Single Molecule Laboratory, ITQB’s role will be to offer a bio-nanoengineering solution to enzyme immobilisation without loosing too much activity and increasing their stability.

The Edrox RTN is coordinated by the Metalloproteins Group - Leiden Institute of Chemistry (Leiden Univeristy) and includes: Departmente of Biophysics-Leiden Institute of Physics (Leiden Univeristy), Department of Biology of the University of Torino, Department of Chemistry of theOxford University, Department of Chemistry of the University of Modena, Biomedical Sciences- Medical School (Newcastle University, Institute of Chemistry (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (Universidade Nova de Lisboa), Biomade Technology Foundation, Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology (University of Leeds).

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