Biosensors & bioelectronics

Monitoring extracellular K+ flux with a valinomycin-coated silicon nanowire field-effect transistor.

PMID 22036669


A silicon nanowire field-effect transistor (SiNW-FET) coated with a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane containing valinomycin (VAL) was employed as a biosensor (referred to as VAL-PVC/SiNW-FET) to detect the K(+)-efflux from live chromaffin cells. The detection sensitivity of K(+) with the VAL-PVC/SiNW-FET covers a broad range of concentrations from 10(-6) to 10(-2) M. The apparent association constants between VAL and Li(+), Na(+), K(+), and Cs(+) in Tris buffer solution were determined to be 67±42, 120±23, 5974±115, and 4121±140 M(-1), respectively. By culturing chromaffin cells on the VAL-PVC/SiNW-FET, the conductance was significantly increased by nicotine stimulation in a bath buffer without Na(+). The K(+) concentration at the cell surface was determined to be ~20 μM under the stimulation of 5 mM nicotine. These results demonstrate that the VAL-PVC/SiNW-FET is sensitive and selective to detect the released K(+) from cells and is suitable for applications in cellular recording investigations.