Electrochemical immunosensors for the detection of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein using different carbon nanomaterials-modified electrodes

Shimaa Eissa, Nawal Alshehri, Anas M.Abdel Rahman, Majed Dasouki, Khalid M.Abu Salah, Mohammed Zourob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Spinal muscular atrophy is an untreatable potentially fatal hereditary disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN) 1 gene which encodes the SMN protein. Currently, definitive diagnosis relies on the demonstration of biallelic pathogenic variants in SMN1 gene. Therefore, there is an urgent unmet need to accurately quantify SMN protein levels for screening and therapeutic monitoring of symptomatic newborn and SMA patients, respectively. Here, we developed a voltammetric immunosensor for the sensitive detection of SMN protein based on covalently functionalized carbon nanofiber-modified screen printed electrodes. A comparative study of six different carbon nanomaterial-modified electrodes (carbon, graphene (G), graphene oxide (GO), single wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT), multi-wall carbon nanotube (MWCNT), and carbon nanofiber (CNF)) was performed. 4-carboxyphenyl layers were covalently grafted on the six electrodes by electroreduction of diazonium salt. Then, the terminal carboxylic moieties on the electrodes surfaces were utilized to immobilize the SMN antibody via EDC/NHS chemistry and to fabricate the immunosensors. The electrochemical characterization and analytical performance of the six immunosensors suggest that carbon nanofiber is a better electrode material for the SMN immunosensor. The voltammetric SMN carbon nanofiber-based immunosensor showed high sensitivity (detection limit of 0.75 pg/ml) and selectivity against other proteins such as cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and dystrophin (DMD). We suggest that this novel biosensor is superior to other developed assays for SMN detection in terms of lower cost, higher sensitivity, simplicity and capability of high throughput screening.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2018


  • Carbon nanofiber
  • Immunosensor
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
  • Survival motor neuron (SMN)


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