High sensitive and label-free colorimetric DNA detection based on nicking endonuclease-assisted activation of DNAzymes
Horseradish peroxidase mimicking DNAzyme (HRP-DNAzyme) attracts growing interest as an amplifying label for biorecognition and biosensing events, especially for DNA detection. However, in the traditional designs, one target molecule can only generate one HRP-DNAzyme, which limits the signal enhancement and thus its sensitivity. In this article, we propose an amplified and label-free colorimetric DNA detection strategy based on nicking endonuclease (NEase)-assisted activation of HRP-DNAzymes (NEAA-DNAzymes). This new strategy relies on the hairpin-DNAzyme probe and NEase-assisted target recycling. In the hairpin-DNAzyme probe, the HRP-DNAzyme sequence is protected in a "caged" inactive structure, whereas the loop region includes the target complementary sequence. Upon hybridization with target, the beacon is opened, resulting in the activation of the HRP-DNAzyme. Meanwhile, upon formation of the duplex, the NEase recognizes a specific nucleotide sequence and cleaves the hairpin-DNAzyme probe into two fragments. After nicking, the fragments of the hairpin-DNAzyme probe spontaneously dissociate from the target DNA. Amplification is accomplished by another hairpin-DNAzyme probe hybridizing to the released intact target to continue the strand-scission cycle, which results in activation of numerous DNAzymes. The activated HRP-DNAzymes generate colorimetric or chemiluminescence readout signals, thus providing the amplified detection of DNA. The detection limit of the colorimetric method is 10 pmol/L, which are three orders of magnitude lower than that without NEase. In addition, the detection limit of the chemiluminescence method is 0.2 pmol/L. Meanwhile, this strategy also exhibits high discrimination ability even against single-base mismatch.
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