Using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) the sensitive and specific detection of the antibiotic resistance gene mecA has been demonstrated. The gene sequence was obtained from clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Initially a mecA specific probe was selected from hybridisation tests with a 3′ and 5′ version of a previously published probe sequence. When immobilised on a gold electrode in PNA form it was possible to detect hybridisation of mecA PCR product electrochemically at concentrations as low as 10 nM. By incorporating an undecane-thiol and 1.8 nm glycol spacer into the PNA probe it was possible to extend the limit of detection for mecA to 10 pM. Most published studies on EIS and nucleic acid detection report the use of short artificial DNA sequences or novel signal amplification schemes which improve sensitivity whereas this study reports the successful detection of long DNA fragments produced by PCR following extraction from clinical isolates. Finally, using screen printed electrodes the paper demonstrates hybridisation monitoring of mecA in an “on-line” assay format under ambient conditions which paves the way for rapid mecA detection in point of care scenarios.
- electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
- mecA PCR product