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Programmable pH-Triggered DNA Nanoswitches

Author:
Idili, Andrea, Vallée-Bélisle, Alexis, Ricci, Francesco
Source:
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014 v.136 no.16 pp. 5836-5839
ISSN:
1520-5126
Subject:
DNA, mixing, monitoring, nanomaterials, pH
Abstract:
We have designed programmable DNA-based nanoswitches whose closing/opening can be triggered over specific different pH windows. These nanoswitches form an intramolecular triplex DNA structure through pH-sensitive parallel Hoogsteen interactions. We demonstrate that by simply changing the relative content of TAT/CGC triplets in the switches, we can rationally tune their pH dependence over more than 5 pH units. The ability to design DNA-based switches with tunable pH dependence provides the opportunity to engineer pH nanosensors with unprecedented wide sensitivity to pH changes. For example, by mixing in the same solution three switches with different pH sensitivity, we developed a pH nanosensor that can precisely monitor pH variations over 5.5 units of pH. With their fast response time (<200 ms) and high reversibility, these pH-triggered nanoswitches appear particularly suitable for applications ranging from the real-time monitoring of pH changes in vivo to the development of pH sensitive smart nanomaterials.