Coupling molecular imprinting technology and biosensorics
1 Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, Taborska ulica 8, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia (email@example.com)
The field of biosensing has continuously grown in recent years. The rapid, selective, and cost-effective detection and determination of clinically relevant biomolecule analytes to better understand their biological and physiological functions or allow for early disease detection is becoming increasingly important. Naturally occurring “receptors” have a unique ability to interact with target molecules specifically. As a recognition element of biosensors, these receptors dictate the refined selectivity of a device. However, they are subject to instability under harsh environmental conditions and low durability. Using supramolecular chemistry principles, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) can successfully replace natural receptors to circumvent these shortcomings.
Polymerization of suitable functional monomers in the presence of a target molecule that serves as a template creates a synthetic material with “molecular memory”. Subsequent removal of the template molecule leads to the formation of selective molecular recognition sites that can mimic the binding sites of antibodies (so-called “plastic antibodies”). Coupled with biosensor-based technology MIPs are expected to be used as recognition elements in decentralized medical diagnostics [1, 2].
For direct immobilization of the MIP-based layer on the sensor surface, electropolymerization is the simplest approach. All steps of MIP electrosynthesis and measurement can be evaluated directly by the presence of the captured target molecule in the MIP layer or indirectly by signal changes of a redox marker (e.g., ferrocyanide/ferricyanide redox couple) .
In the project funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sports (grant number: C3330-19-952027) we combine molecular recognition by electrosynthesized MIP with an electrochemical transducer to create a biomimetic sensor for insulin detection. Since such sensors present a fast and simple alternative to clinical or ELISA-based methods of insulin detection, they could present a reasonable future approach for point-of-care devices. These could lead to more efficient diabetes type 1 control in patients in combination with continuous glucose monitoring.
Figure: The concept of electrosynthesized MIP preparation for insulin detection.
The authors acknowledge the financial support from Ministry for Education, Science, and Sport (grant number: C3330-19-952027) and the Slovenian Research Agency (grant number: P3-0036).
 Y. Saylan, S. Akgönüllü, H. Yavuz, S. Ünal, A. Denizli, Molecularly imprinted polymer based sensors for medical applications, Sensors 19(6) (2019) 1279.
 M. Cieplak, W. Kutner, Artificial biosensors: How can molecular imprinting mimic biorecognition?, Trends in biotechnology 34(11) (2016) 922-941.