CRISPR-Cas13-based miRNA Biosensor

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease characterized by the abnormal and synchronized firing of neurons. The diagnosis of epilepsy using various techniques and patient interviews remains challenging as the disease can only be diagnosed during a seizure. The use of biomarkers for diagnostic purposes is not yet widespread and clinical studies involving epilepsy specific biomarkers only serve validation purposes. However, analysis of epilepsy related biomarkers using miRNAs is indeed feasible. The use of genetic material in epilepsy diagnosis has also drawn attention to potential correlations between genetic material and epileptogenesis, the process through which genetic influences or acquired brain injury results in structural and functional alterations in the brain. Epileptogenesis is marked by progressive pathways where acute epileptogenesis can develop within minutes or hours and can be reversible. miRNAs remain central to epigenetic mechanisms regulating epileptogenesis. Traditional methods for analyzing extracellular nucleic acids include quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based, fluorescent-based, and spectrophotometry-based approaches. In addition, these methods often require sample preparation, trained staff, consumables, and time, demonstrating the need for more innovative and less time consuming next-generation measurement systems. Biosensor systems, which are mini analyzers that combine biorecognition agents and a transducer, can address limitations of traditional techniques. Our study aims to develop a biosensor system to analyze epilepsy associated miRNAs. Micro-electrodes modified using CRISPR-associated (Cas) dCas13a proteins will be used as biorecognition agents. Using CRISPR technology, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020, dCas13a proteins will target specific miRNAs and dCas13a-modified electrodes will bind respective miRNAs. This biosensor system based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy will allow for label-free measurement opportunities.

For this study, please feel free to get in touch with Begum Kubra Tokyay: or Dr. Zihni Onur Uygun: