Portable System for Sample Preparation and Differentiation of Pathogens at Strain Level

Period of Performance: 04/21/2004 - 10/21/2004

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
COLLEGE STATION, TX 77845
Principal Investigator

Abstract

During the anthrax attacks in 2001, investigators had difficulty in differentiating the strains apart because B. anthracis has a low level of genetic variability. This event demonstrated the need for rapid and precise molecular subtyping technologies. Lynntech proposes to develop an ultra-sensitive quantum dots-based molecular beacon fluorogenic reporter system to identify the presence of specific pathogen species at the strain level. The technology will be incorporated with the surface sampling device and the portable PCR-unit being developed by Lynntech. Molecular beacon (MB) is a hair-pin shaped oligonucleotide probe that has a fluorescent dye and a quencher located at each end of the strand. MBs become fluorescent upon hybridization and they have selectivity for single base-pair mismatch identification. MBs modified with fluorogenic quantum dots of characteristic emission colors will allow more sensitive multiplex detection of DNA sequences with much simpler and less expensive instrumentation. Lynntech will demonstrate the technology's ability to discriminate between different strains of E. Coli. Lynntech will also demonstrate the ability to differentiate different amplicons obtained from similar species such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella. These assays will be carried out entirely in sealed PCR tubes, enabling fast and direct detection of E. Coli. in an automated format.