Biosensor for dengue virus detection: sensitive, rapid, and serotype specific

Anal Chem. 2002 Mar 15;74(6):1442-8. doi: 10.1021/ac015675e.


A serotype-specific RNA biosensor was developed for the rapid detection of Dengue virus (serotypes 1-4) in blood samples. After RNA amplification, the biosensor allows the rapid detection of Dengue virus RNA in only 15 min. In addition, the biosensor is portable, inexpensive, and very easy to use, making it an ideal detection system for point-of-care and field applications. The biosensor is coupled to the isothermal nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) technique with which small amounts of virus RNA are amplified using a simple water bath. During the NASBA reaction, a generic sequence is attached to all RNA molecules as described earlier (Wu, S. J.; Lee, E. M.; Putvatana, R.; Shurtliff, R. N.; Porter, K R.; Suharyono, W.; Watt, D. M.; King, C. C.; Murphy, G. S.; Hayes, C. G.; Romano, J. W. J. Clin. Microbiol. 2001, 39, 2794-2798.). It has been shown earlier that Dengue virus can be detected specifically using two DNA probes: a first probe hybridized with the attached generic sequence and, therefore, bound to every amplified RNA molecule; and a second probe either bound to all four Dengue virus serotypes or chosen to be specific for only one serotype. These probes were utilized in the biosensor described in this publication. For a generic Dengue virus biosensor, the second probe is complementary to a conserved region found in all Dengue serotypes. For identification of the individual Dengue virus serotypes, four serotype-specific probes were developed (Wu, S. J.; Lee, E. M.; Putvatana, R.; Shurtiff, R. N.; Porter, K. R.; Suharyono, W.; Watt, D. M.; King, C. C.; Murphy, G. S.; Hayes, C. G.; Romano, J. W. J. Clin. Microbiol. 2001, 39, 2794-2798.). The biosensor is a membrane-based DNA/RNA hybridization system using liposome amplification. The generic DNA probe (reporter probe) is coupled to the outside of dye-encapsulating liposomes. The conserved or Dengue serotype specific probes (capture probes) are immobilized on a polyethersulfone membrane strip. Liposomes are mixed with amplified target sequence and are then applied to the membrane. The mixture is allowed to migrate along the test strip, and the liposome-target sequence complexes are immobilized in the capture zone via hybridization of the capture probe with target sequence. The amount of liposomes present in the immobilized complex is directly proportional to the amount of target sequence present in the sample and can be quantified using a portable reflectometer. The different biosensor components have been optimized with respect to sensitivity and, foremost, specificity toward the different serotypes. An excellent correlation to a laboratory-based detection system was demonstrated. Finally, the assay was tested using a limited number of clinical human serum samples. Although Dengue serotypes 1, 2 and 4 were identified correctly, serotype 3 displayed low cross-reactivity with biosensors designed for detection of serotypes 1 and 4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA Probes
  • Dengue Virus / genetics
  • Dengue Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vero Cells


  • DNA Probes
  • RNA, Viral