A renewable surface biosensor for rapid detection of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A is described based on fluidic automation of a fluorescence sandwich immunoassay, using a recombinant protein fragment of the toxin heavy chain ( approximately 50 kDa) as a structurally valid simulant. Monoclonal antibodies AR4 and RAZ1 bind to separate non-overlapping epitopes of the full botulinum holotoxin ( approximately 150 kDa). Both of the targeted epitopes are located on the recombinant fragment. The AR4 antibody was covalently bound to Sepharose beads and used as the capture antibody. A rotating rod flow cell was used to capture these beads delivered as a suspension by a sequential injection flow system, creating a 3.6 microL column. After perfusing the bead column with sample and washing away the matrix, the column was perfused with Alexa 647 dye-labeled RAZ1 antibody as the reporter. Optical fibers coupled to the rotating rod flow cell at a 90 degrees angle to one another delivered excitation light from a HeNe laser (633 nm) using one fiber and collected fluorescent emission light for detection with the other. After each measurement, the used Sepharose beads are released and replaced with fresh beads. In a rapid screening approach to sample analysis, the toxin simulant was detected to concentrations of 10 pM in less than 20 minutes using this system.
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