Developing an Aptamer Against Acetaminophen to Detect Acetaminophen Toxicity at the Point of Care

Matthew Magoon and Dr. Stephanie McCalla, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University, PO Box 173920, Bozeman MT 59717

Acetaminophen toxicity is a leading cause of acute liver failure, and the diagnosis and treatment of this condition are based heavily on laboratory findings. While there are several antibody-based and enzymatic assays available for detecting acetaminophen toxicity, they have several drawbacks. These include the special shipping and storage requirements needed to preserve the proteins’ integrity, and the fact that they must be performed in a clinical lab which can increase the turnaround time or create a barrier in settings where a clinical lab is not available. An alternative, which is particularly well suited to limited resource settings, could be to use DNA aptamers, or short strands of DNA that bind to a specific target. For this project, work is being done to design a new DNA aptamer through an in vitro technique called Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX). The goal of this project is to evolve an aptamer that specifically binds to acetaminophen in human plasma, and then to incorporate the aptamer into a lateral flow assay that can rapidly provide results at the point of care. The advantages to using DNA aptamers instead of antibodies or enzymes are that aptamers are more durable than proteins in terms of their ability to withstand denaturing conditions like heat, aptamers are easier to produce in large quantities because of DNA’s ability to be replicated, and aptamers are less expensive than proteins. By incorporating DNA aptamers into a lateral flow assay with gold nanoparticles, it should ultimately be possible to design a simple, inexpensive, point of care diagnostic test with visual detection that has less rigorous shipping and storage requirements than existing tests. This can increase access to testing for acetaminophen toxicity, which is a prevalent and widespread condition that can be effectively treated if it is caught early.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Matthew Magoon

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Poster

Subject: Biological & Chemical Engineering

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 2
Date/Time: Mon 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 2527