A single-step photolithographic interface for cell-free gene expression and active biochips

Amnon Buxboim*, Maya Bar-Dagan, Veronica Frydman, David Zbaida, Margherita Morpurgo, Roy Bar-Ziv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


We have developed a biochip platform technology suitable for controlled cell-free gene expression at the micrometer scale. A new hybrid molecule, "Daisy", was designed and synthesized to form in a single step a biocompatible lithographic interface on silicon dioxide. A protocol is described for the immobilization of linear DNA molecules thousands of base pairs long on Daisy-coated surfaces with submicrometer spatial resolution and up to high densities. On-chip protein synthesis can be obtained with a dynamic range of up to four orders of magnitude and minimal nonspecific activity. En route to on-chip artificial gene circuits, a simple two-stage gene cascade was built, in which the protein synthesized at the first location diffuses to regulate the synthesis of another protein at a second location. We demonstrate the capture of proteins from crude extract onto micrometer-scale designated traps, an important step for the formation of miniaturized self-assembled protein chips. Our biochip platform can be combined with elastomeric microfluidic devices, thereby opening possibilities for isolated and confined reaction chambers and artificial cells in which the transport of products and reagents is done by diffusion and flow. The Daisy molecule and described approach enables groups not proficient in surface chemistry to construct active biochips based on cellfree gene expression.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)500-510
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Biochips
  • Cell-free translation
  • Gene circuits
  • Nanotechnology
  • Self-assembled monolayers


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