New Surface Patterning Method for Carb Chip

Although the application of microarray chip technology to the study of carbohydrates is relatively new, it holds great promise for disease detection and vaccine development in animals and humans.

A research team led by Nicola Pohl, an assistant professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, has developed a new surface patterning method to make carbohydrate chips for bioscreening.

"The success of DNA and protein microarrays in chip format for biosample screening using small sample volumes has led to a variety of technologies that diagnose many diseases," Pohl said. "Extending this concept to other biomolecules has been challenging."

The new method developed by Pohl and graduate students Kwang-Seuk and Firoz Jaipuri is based on a fluorous Teflon®-pan like surface interacting with fluorous-tagged compounds. Unlike most other molecules, these fluorous-tailed sugars stick to the Teflon-type surface, which allows the tagged carbohydrates to be immobilized in a microarray format on standard glass microscope slides.

"The surprising part was that this fluorous interaction was strong enough to allow standard bioassays on the chips without rinsing away the sugars," Pohl said.

The Teflon-like tail also can be used to speed up the synthesis of complex carbohydrates. The fluorous-based microarray method should rival the speed and ease of solid-phase synthesis currently used for the commercial production of DNA and peptides, Pohl said.

"It will allow a whole range of carbohydrate chips to be produced, including chips that contain sugars of particular interest to plant scientists," said Pohl, a researcher associated with Iowa State's Plant Sciences Institute.; Source: Iowa State University