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Toehold integrated molecular beacon system for a versatile non-enzymatic application

Liu, Zhenping, Wang, Yiyun, Wang, Xuchu, Liu, Weiwei, Dai, Yibei, Yu, Pan, Liao, Zhaoping, Ping, Ying, Tao, Zhihua
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2018 v.410 no.28 pp. 7285-7293
biosensors, hybridization chain reaction, hybridization probes, nucleic acids, oligonucleotides
A molecular beacon (MB) is an oligonucleotide hybridization probe with a hairpin-shaped structure that leads to specific and instantaneous nucleic acid hybridization, enabling a variety of applications. However, integration of additional module sequences interferes with the performance of MBs and increases the complexity of sequence design. Herein, we develop and characterize a toehold integrated molecular beacon (ToMB) strategy for nucleic acid hybridization, where the reaction rate can be flexibly regulated by a target-induced MB conformational switch. Using this basic mechanism, the ToMB is capable of identifying nucleic acids with high specificity and a wider linearity range compared with the conventional molecular beacon system. We further applied the ToMB to the construction of a hybridization chain reaction system and a basic OR logic gate VJHto explore its programmability and versatility. Our results strongly suggest that the novel ToMB can act as a powerful nano-module to construct universal and multifunctional biosensors or molecular computations. Graphical abstract Molecular beacon is employed as a flexible and switchable spacer to control the toehold-mediated strand displacement reaction.