Functional Polymers in Protein Detection Platforms: Optical, Electrochemical, Electrical, Mass-Sensitive, and Magnetic Biosensors
Received: 26 January 2011 / Revised: 26 February 2011 / Accepted: 15 March 2011 / Published: 21 March 2011
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The rapidly growing field of proteomics and related applied sectors in the life sciences demands convenient methodologies for detecting and measuring the levels of specific proteins as well as for screening and analyzing for interacting protein systems. Materials utilized for such protein detection
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The rapidly growing field of proteomics and related applied sectors in the life sciences demands convenient methodologies for detecting and measuring the levels of specific proteins as well as for screening and analyzing for interacting protein systems. Materials utilized for such protein detection and measurement platforms should meet particular specifications which include ease-of-mass manufacture, biological stability, chemical functionality, cost effectiveness, and portability. Polymers can satisfy many of these requirements and are often considered as choice materials in various biological detection platforms. Therefore, tremendous research efforts have been made for developing new polymers both in macroscopic and nanoscopic length scales as well as applying existing polymeric materials for protein measurements. In this review article, both conventional and alternative techniques for protein detection are overviewed while focusing on the use of various polymeric materials in different protein sensing technologies. Among many available detection mechanisms, most common approaches such as optical, electrochemical, electrical, mass-sensitive, and magnetic methods are comprehensively discussed in this article. Desired properties of polymers exploited for each type of protein detection approach are summarized. Current challenges associated with the application of polymeric materials are examined in each protein detection category. Difficulties facing both quantitative and qualitative protein measurements are also identified. The latest efforts on the development and evaluation of nanoscale polymeric systems for improved protein detection are also discussed from the standpoint of quantitative and qualitative measurements. Finally, future research directions towards further advancements in the field are considered.