New PEPTIR-2.0 Peptide Designed for Use as Recognition Element in Electrochemical Biosensors with Improved Specificity towards E. coli O157:H7
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The detection of pathogens through alternative methodologies based on electrochemical biosensors is being studied. These devices exhibit remarkable properties, such as simplicity, specificity, and high sensitivity in monitoring pathogens. However, it is necessary to continue conducting studies that adequately improve these characteristics, especially the recognition molecule. This work aims to design and evaluate a new peptide, named PEPTIR-2.0, as a recognition molecule in electrochemical biosensors to detect E. coli O157:H7 in water. PEPTIR-2.0 was obtained from modifications of the PEPTIR-1.0 peptide sequence, which was previously reported and exhibited excellent properties for detecting and quantifying this pathogenic microorganism. PEPTIR-1.0 is a peptide analogous to the TIR (Translocated Intimin Receptor) protein capable of interacting with the Intimin outer membrane. The basis of this study was to obtain, by using bioinformatics tools, a molecule analogous to PEPTIR-1.0 that maintains its three-dimensional structure but increases the hydrophobic interactions between it and Intimin, since these intermolecular forces are the predominant ones. The designed PEPTIR-2.0 peptide was immobilized on screen-printed electrodes modified with gold nanoparticles. The detection capacity of E. coli O157:H7 in water was evaluated using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy in the presence of other microorganisms, such as P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and non-pathogenic E. coli. The results showed that PEPTIR-2.0 confers remarkable specificity to the biosensor towards detecting E. coli, even higher than PEPTIR-1.0.