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Cascade Transcription Amplification of RNA Aptamer for Ultrasensitive MicroRNA Detection

Zhou, Mengxi, Teng, Xucong, Li, Yue, Deng, Ruijie, Li, Jinghong
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.8 pp. 5295-5302
biomarkers, cell lines, early diagnosis, fluorescent dyes, microRNA, monitoring, neoplasms, nucleotide aptamers, prognosis, quantitative analysis, signal-to-noise ratio, single-stranded DNA, spinach, therapeutics, transcription (genetics)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in multifarious biological processes and being deemed to be important biomarkers for clinical cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy. Thus, assays for sensitive and accurate quantification of miRNAs are highly demanded. Herein, we have constructed a RNA aptamer involved cascade transcription amplification method (termed RACTA), enabling label-free, ultrasensitive, and specific detection of miRNA. Target miRNA-initiated strand-displacement amplification would allow for the production of plenty of ssDNA that triggers the subsequent transcriptional amplification of spinach RNA aptamers. Consequently, transcribed tremendous spinach aptamers activated fluorophore DFHBI ((Z)-4-(3,5-difluoro-4-hydroxybenzylidene)-1,2-dimethyl-1H-imidazol-5(4H)-one) for miRNA quantitative analysis. RACTA outperforms conventional strand displacement amplification (SDA) at both background and amplification rate due to the light-up mechanism of DFHBI dye-Spinach aptamer and cascade signal amplification of RACTA. Thus, the signal-to-noise ratio of RACTA was increased by about 20-fold compared to that of SDA. This RACTA assay could confer a highly sensitive detection of miRNA with a detection limit of 5.12 × 10–¹⁸ M and excellent specificity enabling differentiation between miRNAs and homologous families. Besides, this assay has been successfully demonstrated for quantification of miRNAs in different cell lines. Therefore, the proposed method holds great potential for miRNA biomarker based early diagnosis and prognosis monitoring.