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Restani R.B.,REQUIMTE | Conde J.,CIGMH | Conde J.,University of Zaragoza | Conde J.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | And 6 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2014

The design of small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery materials showing efficacy in vivo is at the forefront of nanotherapeutics research. Polyurea (PURE-type) dendrimers are 'smart' biocompatible 3D polymers that unveil a dynamic and elegant back-folding mechanism involving hydrogen bonding between primary amines at the surface and tertiary amines and ureas at the core. Similarly, to a biological proton pump, they are able to automatically and reversibly transform their conformation in response to pH stimulus. Here, we show that PURE-G4 is a useful gene silencing platform showing no cellular toxicity. As a proof of concept we investigated the PURE-G4-siRNA dendriplex, which was shown to be an attractive platform with high transfection efficacy. The simplicity associated with the complexation of siRNA with polyurea dendrimers makes them a powerful tool for efficient cytosolic siRNA delivery. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Bernacka-Wojcik I.,CENIMAT I3N | Senadeera R.,CENIMAT I3N | Senadeera R.,Sri Lanka Institute of Fundamental Studies | Wojcik P.J.,CENIMAT I3N | And 6 more authors.
Biosensors and Bioelectronics | Year: 2010

A dye sensitized TiO2 photodetector has been integrated with a DNA detection method based on non-cross-linking hybridization of DNA-functionalized gold nanoparticles, resulting in a disposable colorimetric biosensor. We present a new approach for the fabrication of dye sensitized TiO2 photodetectors by an inkjet printing technique-a non-contact digital, additive, no mask and no vacuum patterning method, ideal for cost efficient mass production. The developed biosensor was compared against a dye sensitized photodetector fabricated by the traditional "doctor blade" method. Detection of gold nanoparticle aggregation was possible for concentrations as low as 1.0 nM for the "doctor blade" system, and 1.5 nM for the inkjet printed photodetector. The demonstrated sensitivity limits of developed biosensors are comparable to those of spectrophotometric techniques (1.0 nM). Our results show that a difference higher than 17% by traditional photodetector and 6% by inkjet printed in the photoresponses for the complementary and non-complementary gold nanoprobe assays could be attained for a specific DNA sequence from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiologic agent of human tuberculosis. The decrease of costs associated with molecular diagnostic provided by a platform such as the one presented here may prove of paramount importance in developing countries. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Costa M.N.,CENIMAT I3N | Veigas B.,CENIMAT I3N | Jacob J.M.,CENIMAT I3N | Santos D.S.,CENIMAT I3N | And 5 more authors.
Nanotechnology | Year: 2014

There is a strong interest in the use of biopolymers in the electronic and biomedical industries, mainly towards low-cost applications. The possibility of developing entirely new kinds of products based on cellulose is of current interest, in order to enhance and to add new functionalities to conventional paper-based products. We present our results towards the development of paper-based microfluidics for molecular diagnostic testing. Paper properties were evaluated and compared to nitrocellulose, the most commonly used material in lateral flow and other rapid tests. Focusing on the use of paper as a substrate for microfluidic applications, through an eco-friendly wax-printing technology, we present three main and distinct colorimetric approaches: (i) enzymatic reactions (glucose detection); (ii) immunoassays (antibodies anti-Leishmania detection); (iii) nucleic acid sequence identification (Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex detection). Colorimetric glucose quantification was achieved through enzymatic reactions performed within specific zones of the paper-based device. The colouration achieved increased with growing glucose concentration and was highly homogeneous, covering all the surface of the paper reaction zones in a 3D sensor format. These devices showed a major advantage when compared to the 2D lateral flow glucose sensors, where some carryover of the coloured products usually occurs. The detection of anti-Leishmania antibodies in canine sera was conceptually achieved using a paper-based 96-well enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay format. However, optimization is still needed for this test, regarding the efficiency of the immobilization of antigens on the cellulose fibres. The detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis nucleic acids integrated with a non-cross-linking gold nanoprobe detection scheme was also achieved in a wax-printed 384-well paper-based microplate, by the hybridization with a species-specific probe. The obtained results with the above-mentioned proof-of-concept sensors are thus promising towards the future development of simple and cost-effective paper-based diagnostic devices. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Veigas B.,CIGMH | Jacob J.M.,CENIMAT I3N | Costa M.N.,CENIMAT I3N | Santos D.S.,CENIMAT I3N | And 6 more authors.
Lab on a Chip - Miniaturisation for Chemistry and Biology | Year: 2012

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the most serious infectious diseases in the world and the rate of new cases continues to increase. The development of cheap and simple methodologies capable of identifying TB causing agents belonging to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex (MTBC), at point-of-need, in particular in resource-poor countries where the main TB epidemics are observed, is of paramount relevance for the timely and effective diagnosis and management of patients. TB molecular diagnostics, aimed at reducing the time of laboratory diagnostics from weeks to days, still require specialised technical personnel and labour intensive methods. Recent nanotechnology-based systems have been proposed to circumvent these limitations. Here, we report on a paper-based platform capable of integrating a previously developed Au-nanoprobe based MTBC detection assay - we call it "Gold on Paper". The Au-nanoprobe assay is processed and developed on a wax-printed microplate paper platform, allowing unequivocal identification of MTBC members and can be performed without specialised laboratory equipment. Upon integration of this Au-nanoprobe colorimetric assay onto the 384-microplate, differential colour scrutiny may be captured and analysed with a generic "smartphone" device. This strategy uses the mobile device to digitalise the intensity of the colour associated with each colorimetric assay, perform a Red Green Blue (RGB) analysis and transfer relevant information to an off-site lab, thus allowing for efficient diagnostics. Integration of the GPS location metadata of every test image may add a new dimension of information, allowing for real-time epidemiologic data on MTBC identification. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Conde J.,New University of Lisbon | Conde J.,University of Zaragoza | Doria G.,CIGMH | De La Fuente J.M.,University of Zaragoza | Baptista P.V.,New University of Lisbon
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2012

Nanotechnology provides new tools for gene expression analysis that allow for sensitive and specific characterization of prognostic signatures related to cancer. Cancer is a multigenic complex disease where multiple gene loci contribute to the phenotype. The ability to simultaneously monitor differential expression originating from each locus allows for a more accurate indication of degree of cancerous activity than either locus alone. Metal nanoparticles have been widely used as labels for in vitro identification and quantification of target sequences. Here we describe the synthesis of nanoparticles with different noble metal compositions in an alloy format that are then functionalized with thiol-modified ssDNA (nanoprobes). We also show how to use such nanoprobes in a non-cross-linking colorimetric method for the direct detection and quantification of specific mRNA targets, without the need for enzymatic amplification or reverse transcription steps. The different metals in the alloy provide for distinct absorption spectra due to their characteristic plasmon resonance peaks. The color multiplexing allows for simultaneous identification of several different mRNA targets involved in cancer development. Comparison of the absorption spectra of the nanoprobes mixtures taken before and after induced aggregation of metal nanoparticles allows to both identify and quantify each mRNA target. We describe the use of gold and gold:silver-alloy nanoprobes for the development of the non-cross-linking method to detect a specific BCR-ABL fusion gene (e.g., e1a2 and e14a2) mRNA target associated with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) using 10 ng μL -1 of unamplified total human RNA. This simple methodology takes less than 50 min to complete after total RNA extraction with comparable specificity and sensitivity to the more commonly used methods. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Conde J.,University of Zaragoza | Ambrosone A.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Sanz V.,University of Zaragoza | Hernandez Y.,University of Zaragoza | And 8 more authors.
ACS Nano | Year: 2012

Over the past decade, the capability of double-stranded RNAs to interfere with gene expression has driven new therapeutic approaches. Since small interfering RNA (siRNAs, 21 base pair double-stranded RNA) was shown to be able to elicit RNA interference (RNAi), efforts were directed toward the development of efficient delivery systems to preserve siRNA bioactivity throughout the delivery route, from the administration site to the target cell. Here we provide evidence of RNAi triggering, specifically silencing c-myc protooncogene, via the synthesis of a library of novel multifunctional gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The efficiency of the AuNPs is demonstrated using a hierarchical approach including three biological systems of increasing complexity: in vitro cultured human cells, in vivo invertebrate (freshwater polyp, Hydra), and in vivo vertebrate (mouse) models. Our synthetic methodology involved fine-tuning of multiple structural and functional moieties. Selection of the most active functionalities was assisted step-by-step through functional testing that adopted this hierarchical strategy. Merging these chemical and biological approaches led to a safe, nonpathogenic, self-tracking, and universally valid nanocarrier that could be exploited for therapeutic RNAi. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Reimao-Pinto M.M.,CIGMH | Cordeiro A.,CIGMH | Almeida C.,CIGMH | Pinheiro A.V.,CIGMH | And 3 more authors.
Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences | Year: 2014

Spatial and temporal control of molecular mechanisms can be achieved using photolabile bonds that connect biomolecules to protective caging groups, which can be cleaved upon irradiation of a specific wavelength, releasing the biomolecule ready-to-use. Here we apply and improve a previously reported strategy to tightly control in vitro transcription reactions. The strategy involves two caging molecules that block both ATP and GTP nucleotides. Additionally, we designed a molecular beacon complementary to the synthesized mRNA to infer its presence through a light signal. Upon release of both nucleotides through a specific monochromatic light (390 and 325 nm) we attain a light signal indicative of a successful in vitro transcription reaction. Similarly, in the absence of irradiation, no intense fluorescence signal was obtained. We believe this strategy could further be applied to DNA synthesis or the development of logic gates. This journal is © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Doria G.,CIGMH | Baumgartner B.G.,University of Gottingen | Franco R.,REQUIMTE | Baptista P.V.,CIGMH
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces | Year: 2010

Gold nanoparticles functionalized with thiol-oligonucleotides are ideal platforms for detection of specific DNA sequences. Here we evaluate the effect of single base mismatches in hybridization efficiency according to the position of the mismatch, base pairing combination and thiol-oligonucleotide density in terms of specificity and efficiency of target recognition. Hybridization efficiency and single-nucleotide polymorphism discrimination at room temperature is maximized at a density of 83 ± 4 thiol-oligonucleotides per 13.5 nm gold nanoparticle (24 pmol/cm2), and when the mismatch is localized at the 3′-end of the Au-nanoprobe, i.e. away from the gold nanoparticle surface. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Larguinho M.,CIGMH | Santos H.M.,New University of Lisbon | Doria G.,CIGMH | Doria G.,New University of Lisbon | And 4 more authors.
Talanta | Year: 2010

Several ultrasound-based platforms for DNA sample preparation were evaluated in terms of effective fragmentation of DNA (plasmid and genomic DNA)-ultrasonic probe, sonoreactor, ultrasonic bath and the newest Vialtweeter device. The sonoreactor showed the best efficiency of DNA fragmentation while simultaneously assuring no cross-contamination of samples, and was considered the best ultrasonic tool to achieve effective fragmentation of DNA at high-throughput and avoid sample overheating. Several operation variables were studied-ultrasonication time and amplitude, DNA concentration, sample volume and sample pre-treatment-that allowed optimisation of a sonoreactor-based strategy for effective DNA fragmentation. Optimal operating conditions to achieve DNA fragmentation were set to 100% ultrasonic amplitude, 100 μL sample volume, 8 min ultrasonic treatment (2 min/sample) for a DNA concentration of 100 μg mL-1. The proposed ultrasonication strategy can be easily implemented in any laboratory setup, providing fast, simple and reliable means for effective DNA sample preparation when fragmentation is critical for downstream molecular detection and diagnostics protocols. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Larguinho M.,CIGMH | Larguinho M.,University of Vigo | Capelo J.L.,University of Vigo | Capelo J.L.,New University of Lisbon | Baptista P.V.,CIGMH
Talanta | Year: 2013

We report a method centred on gold nanoparticle-based surface-assisted laser desorption/ionisation for analysis of deoxynucleotides and alkylated nucleobases. Gold nanoparticles allow for enhanced analysis capability by eliminating undesired signature peaks; thus more elegant mass spectra can be attained that allow identification by nucleotide mass fingerprint. The resulting fingerprinting patterns on the spectra are compared and associated with the presence of different nucleotides in the sample. This method can be easily extended to modified nucleotides implicated in genome lesions due to exposure to environment chemicals, such as DNA adducts (e.g. guanine adducts). The use of gold nanoparticles for surface-assisted laser desorption/ionisation can be an useful tool to resolve common issues of background noise when analysing nucleic acids samples. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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