Chemists created new diagnostic method for difficult climate conditions

December 03, 2018

Scientists from the SCAMT Laboratory of ITMO University developed a method to detect viral RNA without special equipment. The sensor is based on a polymerization reaction: if the sample contains traces of the target virus, then under the ultraviolet irradiation the liquid-sensor turns into a gel. The results of such an analysis can easily be detected even by people with limited vision. As the required reagents are widely available and resistant to temperature extremes, the method can be used in difficult field conditions. The results are published in RSC Advances.

Currently, methods for detecting bacteria and viruses by their genetic material, DNA or RNA, are mainly based on changing the color of the sensor solution. These methods require special equipment for accurate measurements and the materials used must be stored under special conditions. Therefore, it is not always suitable for work in difficult climatic conditions or in mobile laboratories. Chemists from ITMO University suggest solving this problem by means of an alternative diagnostic method.

The new method is based on a polymerization reaction, in which the liquid substance, acrylamide, turns into a gel in the presence of a detectable substance such as viral RNA. The polymerization is triggered by free radicals generated on titanium dioxide under ultraviolet irradiation. Although usually hydrogen peroxide server as the initiator of radical polymerization, it is unsafe due to the tendency to detonation. Moreover, the peroxide also decomposes in the light and should be stored only at low temperatures. So that scientists have replaced it with a stable solution of titanium dioxide. Its advantage is a stability upon storage or transportation and unpredictable temperature varying.

"The advantage of our method is that it can be used in remote regions, as well as for conducting rapid tests in mobile laboratories. It does not require any electronics, except for a portable ultraviolet flashlight with a 365 nanometers wavelength, which we specially selected to make the radiation as soft and harmless as possible. The result of the analysis can be defined literally by touch: the gel is either polymerized or not. Therefore, it can be used by people with visual impairment. At the same time, the sensor turned out to be not only reliable and convenient, but also very accurate," noted Yulia Lanchuk, the first author of the study, researcher at the SCAMT Laboratory.

For this study scientists carried out tests using only one RNA in order to prove the conception. The future plans of the laboratory include the development of the sensitivity of the sensor to diagnose a whole set of infections by both RNA and DNA.
-end-
Reference: Towards sustainable diagnostics: replacing unstable H2O2 by photoactive TiO2 in testing systems for visible and tangible diagnostics for use by blind people. Yulia V. Lanchuk et al. RSC Advances. 9 November, 2018.

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2018/ra/c8ra06711b#!divAbstract

ITMO University

Related RNA Articles from Brightsurf:

A new RNA catalyst from the lab
On the track of evolution: a catalytically active RNA molecule that specifically attaches methyl groups to other RNAs - a research group from the University of Würzburg reports on this new discovery in Nature.

Small RNA as a central player in infections
The most important pathogenicity factors of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori are centrally regulated by a small RNA molecule, NikS.

RNA as a future cure for hereditary diseases
ETH Zurich scientists have developed an RNA molecule that can be used in bone marrow cells to correct genetic errors that affect protein production.

Bringing RNA into genomics
By studying RNA-binding proteins, a research consortium known as ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) has identified genomic sites that appear to code for RNA molecules that influence gene expression.

RNA key in helping stem cells know what to become
If every cell has the same genetic blueprint, why does an eye cell look and act so differently than a brain cell or skin cell?

RNA structures by the thousands
Researchers from Bochum and Münster have developed a new method to determine the structures of all RNA molecules in a bacterial cell at once.

New kind of CRISPR technology to target RNA, including RNA viruses like coronavirus
Researchers in the lab of Neville Sanjana, PhD, at the New York Genome Center and New York University have developed a new kind of CRISPR screen technology to target RNA.

Discovery of entirely new class of RNA caps in bacteria
The group of Dr. Hana Cahová of the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS, in collaboration with scientists from the Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, has discovered an entirely new class of dinucleoside polyphosphate 5'RNA caps in bacteria and described the function of alarmones and their mechanism of function.

New RNA mapping technique shows how RNA interacts with chromatin in the genome
A group led by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS) in Japan have developed a new method, RADICL-seq, which allows scientists to better understand how RNA interacts with the genome through chromatin--the structure in which the genome is organized.

Characterising RNA alterations in cancer
The largest and most comprehensive catalogue of cancer-specific RNA alterations reveals new insights into the cancer genome.

Read More: RNA News and RNA Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.