A microfluidic biosensor based on competitive protein adsorption for thyroglobulin detection

Seokheun Choi, Junseok Chae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We report a microfluidic sensing platform for the detection of thyroglobulin (Tg) using competitive protein adsorption. Serum Tg is a highly specific biomarker for residual thyroid tissue, recurrence and metastases after treatment for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Conventional Tg detection techniques require complicated immobilization of antibodies and need to form a sandwich assay using additional secondary antibodies to enhance the sensitivity. We present a fundamentally different sensing technique without using antibody immobilization on a microfluidic platform. We engineer two surfaces covered by two known proteins, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and fibrinogen, with different affinities onto the surfaces. The microfluidic device offers a selective protein sensing by being displaced by a target protein, Tg, on only one of the surfaces. By utilizing the competitive protein adsorption, Tg displaces a weakly bound protein, IgG; however, a strongly bound protein, fibrinogen, is not displaced by Tg. The surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensorgrams show that five human serum proteins, albumin, haptoglobin, IgG, fibrinogen and Tg, have different adsorption strengths to the surface and the competitive adsorption of individuals controls the exchange sequence. The adsorption and exchange are evaluated by fluorescent labeling of these proteins. Tg in a protein mixture of albumin, haptoglobin, and Tg is selectively detected based on the exchange reaction. By using the technique, we obviate the need to rely on antibodies as a capture probe and their attachment to transducers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-123
Number of pages6
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 15 2009


  • Biosensor
  • Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC)
  • Microfluidics
  • Surface plasmon resonance (SPR)
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Vroman effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'A microfluidic biosensor based on competitive protein adsorption for thyroglobulin detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this