Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 385, Issue 3, pp 500-517

Optical technologies for the read out and quality control of DNA and protein microarrays

  • Michael SchäferlingAffiliated withInstitute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg Email author 
  • , Stefan NaglAffiliated withInstitute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg

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Microarray formats have become an important tool for parallel (or multiplexed) monitoring of biomolecular interactions. Surface-immobilized probes like oligonucleotides, cDNA, proteins, or antibodies can be used for the screening of their complementary targets, covering different applications like gene or protein expression profiling, analysis of point mutations, or immunodiagnostics. Numerous reviews have appeared on this topic in recent years, documenting the intriguing progress of these miniaturized assay formats. Most of them highlight all aspects of microarray preparation, surface chemistry, and patterning, and try to give a systematic survey of the different kinds of applications of this new technique. This review places the emphasis on optical technologies for microarray analysis. As the fluorescent read out of microarrays is dominating the field, this topic will be the focus of the review. Basic principles of labeling and signal amplification techniques will be introduced. Recent developments in total internal reflection fluorescence, resonance energy transfer assays, and time-resolved imaging are addressed, as well as non-fluorescent imaging methods. Finally, some label-free detection modes are discussed, such as surface plasmon microscopy or ellipsometry, since these are particularly interesting for microarray development and quality control purposes.


DNA microarrays Protein microarrays Imaging Fluorescent labels Signal amplification