Selective probing of mRNA expression levels within a living cell

Nawarathna, D.; Turan, T.; Wickramasinghe, H. Kumar
August 2009
Applied Physics Letters;8/24/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 8, p083117
Academic Journal
We report on a selective and nondestructive measurement of mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) expression levels within a living cell. We first modify an atomic force microscope tip to create a tapered nanoscale coaxial cable. Application of an ac (alternating potential) between the inner and outer electrodes of this cable creates a dielectrophoretic force attracting mRNA molecules toward the tip-end which is pretreated with gene specific primers. We selectively extracted and analyzed both high (∼2500) and extremely low (110) copy number mRNA from a living cell mRNA in less than 10 s.


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