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Cascade Amplification-Mediated In Situ Hot-Spot Assembly for MicroRNA Detection and Molecular Logic Gate Operations

Yu, Sha, Wang, Yingying, Jiang, Li-Ping, Bi, Sai, Zhu, Jun-Jie
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.7 pp. 4544-4551
DNA, DNA fragmentation, biosensors, breast neoplasms, detection limit, diagnostic techniques, electrochemistry, electrodes, humans, microRNA, nanogold, neoplasm cells
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in many biological processes and are associated with various diseases, especially cancers. Combination of technological developments such as nanomaterials, functional enzyme-mediated reactions, and DNA nanotechnology holds great potential for high-performance detection of miRNAs in molecular diagnostic systems. In this work, we have fabricated a cascade signal amplification platform through integrating duplex-specific nuclease (DSN)-assisted target recycling with catalytic hairpin assembly (CHA) reaction for the detection of microRNA-141 (miR-141). The target recycling process driven by DSN results in highly amplified translation of target miRNA to single-stranded connector DNA fragments. The CHA reaction is further initiated by connector DNAs using hairpin-modified gold nanoparticles (HP-AuNPs) as the sensing unit, leading to the formation of AuNP network architecture on the electrode for electrochemical and photoelectrochemical detection of miR-141 in signal-on and signal-off modes, respectively. The developed electrochemical biosensor exhibits a detection limit down to 25.1 aM miR-141 (60 copies in 4 μL sample) and excellent selectivity to discriminate a single base-mismatched sequence and other miRNAs. This assay is also applied to the determination of miR-141 in total RNAs extracted from human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231), confirming the applicability of this method for absolute quantification of specific miRNAs in real-world samples. Furthermore, two-input AND and INHIBIT (INH) logic gates are constructed to detect miRNAs. In particular, the AND gate achieves cell-specific gate activation based on expression profiles of miR-141 and microRNA-21 (miR-21). Therefore, our proposed cascade amplification platform has great potential applications in miRNA-related clinical diagnostics and biochemical research.