Digital Direct Detection Of Micrornas Using Single Molecule Arrays
NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH
Limor Cohen, Mark R. Hartman, Aaron Amardey-Wellington and David R. Walt
Nucleic Acids Research
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in many biological pathways, and detecting miRNAs accurately is critical for diagnosing a variety of diseases including cancer. However, most current methods for miRNA detection require lengthy sample preparation and amplification steps that can bias the results. In addition, lack of specificity and reproducibility give rise to various challenges in detection of circulating miRNAs in biological samples. In this work, we applied the Single Molecule Array (Simoa) technique to develop an ultra-sensitive sandwich assay for direct detection of multiple miRNAs without pre-amplification. We successfully detected miRNAs at femtomolar concentrations (with limits of detection [LODs] ranging from 1 to 30 fM) and high specificity (distinguishing miRNAs with a single nucleotide mismatch). This method was effective against a range of diverse target sequences, suggesting a general approach for miRNA detection. To demonstrate the practical application of this technique, we detected miRNAs in a variety of sample types including human serum and total RNA. The high sensitivity and simple workflow of the Simoa method represent excellent advantages for miRNA-based diagnostics of human diseases.