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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2012, Article ID 874086, 7 pages
Research Article

Quantitative, Label-Free Detection of the Aggregation of α-Synuclein Using Microcantilever Arrays Operated in a Liquid Environment

1Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) and School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
2Department of Biochemistry, University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
3Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS, Université Paris Diderot, 75205 Paris Cedex 13, France

Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 15 August 2011

Academic Editor: Maria Tenje

Copyright © 2012 Jason Jensen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Early detection of protein aggregation is of great importance in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. The successful detection of the aggregation of the protein α-synuclein in a quantitative, label-free manner by functionalising a microcantilever with α-synuclein monomers and operating it in dynamic mode in the presence of α-synuclein monomers in solution is reported. A total mass of 6 ng of α-synuclein was detected over 9 hours on the surface of the cantilever. The result is compared to conventional fluorescence measurements of α-synuclein aggregation under similar conditions. It is found that the label-free cantilever detection method requires a concentration of protein 50 times smaller than that of the current method and indicated potential for significantly faster response times.