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Edmund Cartwright House, 4 Robert Robinson Avenue
Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4GA, UK

Tel: +44 (0)845 034 7900 | Fax: +44 (0)845 034 7901

Cambridge location
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Suite 4, The Mansion, Chesterford Research Park
Little Chesterford, Essex, CB10 1XL, UK

Tel: +44 (0)845 034 7900 | Fax: +44 (0)845 034 7901

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  • Technology
    • DNA: An introduction to nanopore sequencing
    • DNA: strand sequencing
    • DNA sequencing: applications
    • Protein analysis
    • RNA
    • MicroRNA
Protein analysis

The need for a new protein-analysis technology
Of the approximately 100,000 proteins commonly found in mammalian tissue, fewer than 5% have a reliable and affordable assay available. The development of reliable methods for analysing proteins is currently slow and complex. 

When identifying and verifying a new assay for a protein, mass spectrometry is likely to be the dominant technology. When progressing research into a protein to determine whether it is a useful biomarker for disease, or has other interesting functions, the researcher is likely to develop an immunoassay – again a long and complex process. In addition, many researchers use gene expression as a surrogate for protein analysis.

GridION™ technology for protein analysis
A direct electronic method of protein-analysis like nanopore sensing can provide benefits for researchers wishing to discover and validate new proteins. The same technology is designed to provide a diagnostic device with high specificity and sensitivity.

Oxford Nanopore is developing techniques for the direct, electronic analysis of proteins by combining nanopores with aptamers. An aptamer is a oligonucleic acid that can bind specifically to a site on a target protein. When used in the Oxford Nanopore technology platform, a bound aptamer-protein complex creates a characteristic disruption of the current running through a nanopore. It is desirable that this binding event should be reversible; the duration of a binding event provides further evidence of protein identity and the frequency of binding event provides information about concentration of that analyte.

This protein-analysis technique is compatible with the Oxford Nanopore GridION system.
The research below from Oxford Nanopore founder Professor Hagan Bayley's group illustrates the principle of this method, describing nanopore-ligand-protein interactions and the modification of a protein nanopore for the analysis of a protein kinase.
Stochastic detection of monovalent and bivalent protein-ligand interactions. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 43 (7), 842–846 (2004)
A genetically encoded pore for the stochastic detection of a protein kinase. ChemBioChem 7 (12), 1923–1927 (2006)