Biotin and Avidin Are Used in Many Diagnostic Tests

Which diagnostic tests are biotin and avidin used in?

Because of the molecular attraction and strong bonding between biotin and avidin, medical researchers began exploring its use for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. In addition to using avidin, researchers also use avidin conjugates and streptavidin to bind to biotin. Streptavidin is often used because although biotin bonds as strongly to streptavidin as to avidin, it releases up to 30 times faster. This method may be chosen when a biotinylated treatment molecule is attached to a carrier molecule.9

Although there are complex variations involved in each separate diagnostic test, the basic mechanism involves attaching biotin to the molecule used as a probe to detect whatever is being looked for in the body (a process called biotinylation), applying this biotinylated probe to the tissue being tested, and then detecting the bound biotinylated probe molecules-substance with labeled avidin molecules. Other treatments and tests take advantage of the fact that avidin/streptavidin molecules accumulate wherever there is inflammation or infection.9, 12

Some of the innovative biomedical uses of the biotin-avidin bonding mechanism include:

The protein from egg-whites.9
The bacterial counterpart to avidin.9
Attached to a biotin molecule.9
The reverse of this mechanism is also used as a model.9
A type of diagnostic imaging test that captures emissions from radioactive molecules with a gamma camera to create a 2-dimensional pixture of where the molecules have accumulated in the body.12
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