We have developed an affinity biosensor system based on avidin-biotin interaction on a gold electrode. As the building block of an affinity-sensing monolayer, a fourth-generation (G4) poly(amidoamine) dendrimer having partial ferrocenyl-tethered surface groups was prepared and used. The unmodified surface amine groups from dendrimers were functionalized with biotinamidocaproate, and the biotinylated and electroactive dendritic monolayer was constructed on a gold electrode for the affinity-sensing surface interacting with avidin. An electrochemical signal from the affinity biosensor was generated by free glucose oxidase in electrolyte, depending on the degree of coverage of the sensing surface with avidin. The sensor signal decreased correlatively with increasing avidin concentration and approached a minimum level when the sensing surface was fully covered with avidin. The detection limit of avidin was about 4.5 pM, and the sensor signal was linear ranging from 1.5 pM to 10 nM under optimized conditions. From the kinetic analysis using the biotinylated glucose oxidase, an active enzyme coverage of 2.5 x 10(-12) mol/cm(2) on the avidin-pretreated surface was registered, which demonstrates the formation of a spatially ordered and compact protein layer on the derivatized electrode surface. (C) 2000 Academic Press.