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Strategies of molecular imprinting-based fluorescence sensors for chemical and biological analysis

Yang, Qian, Li, Jinhua, Wang, Xiaoyan, Peng, Hailong, Xiong, Hua, Chen, Lingxin
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2018 v.112 pp. 54-71
binding sites, biosensors, fluorescence, microfluidic technology, point-of-care systems, polymers, porous media, signal transduction
One pressing concern today is to construct sensors that can withstand various disturbances for highly selective and sensitive detecting trace analytes in complicated samples. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) with tailor-made binding sites are preferred to be recognition elements in sensors for effective targets detection, and fluorescence measurement assists in highly sensitive detection and user-friendly control. Accordingly, molecular imprinting-based fluorescence sensors (MI-FL sensors) have attracted great research interest in many fields such as chemical and biological analysis. Herein, we comprehensively review the recent advances in MI-FL sensors construction and applications, giving insights on sensing principles and signal transduction mechanisms, focusing on general construction strategies for intrinsically fluorescent or nonfluorescent analytes and improvement strategies in sensing performance, particularly in sensitivity. Construction strategies are well overviewed, mainly including the traditional indirect methods of competitive binding against pre-bound fluorescent indicators, employment of fluorescent functional monomers and embedding of fluorescence substances, and novel rational designs of hierarchical architecture (core-shell/hollow and mesoporous structures), post-imprinting modification, and ratiometric fluorescence detection. Furthermore, MI-FL sensor based microdevices are discussed, involving micromotors, test strips and microfluidics, which are more portable for rapid point-of-care detection and in-field diagnosing. Finally, the current challenges and future perspectives of MI-FL sensors are proposed.