Bionanopore Analyser

The objective of the subproject “BionanoporeAnalyzer”is to develop a novel platform for the analysis of epigenetic mechanisms that will offer a crucial contribution to medical diagnostics and prognostics of the future. To this end, the cluster brings together basic research in biophysics, electrophysiology, epigenetics, structural biology, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence (AI) with innovative microelectronics, microfluidics and bioanalytical sample preparation in the application focus of analyzing protein modifications, especially for epigenetic tumor therapy. The basis for this is single-molecule analysis with bionanopores and here in particular the differentiation of epigenetic post-translational protein modifications with biological nanopores, which we have already currently demonstrated (figure below). The advantages compared to previously available analytical methods, such as mass spectrometry, lie in the reduced instrumental and informational effort, the ability to distinguish positional isomers directly and - compared to antibody-based methods - a significantly better specificity. Most importantly, with appropriate system and process integration, this technology allows decentralized applications, e.g. for point-of-care (POC), without the need for specialized personnel.


Bionanopore technology is based on the measurement of minute ionic currents (10-12 A) through individual protein pores in electrically insulating membranes. Upon entering the pore, biomolecules e.g. DNA or peptides partially block this current. The resulting current blockades provide information about the type, sequence or modification of these biomolecules. So far, only the application for detection and sequencing of DNA and RNA has been commercially realized (Oxford Nanopore). The characterization of proteins up to direct sequencing, which is the goal of this subproject, is the next major challenge for the application of this technology.