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A graphene-based real-time fluorescent assay of deoxyribonuclease I activity and inhibition

Zhou, Zhixue, Zhu, Chengzhou, Ren, Jiangtao, Dong, Shaojun
Analytica chimica acta 2012 v.740 pp. 88-92
cost effectiveness, deoxyribonuclease I, enzymatic reactions, fluorescein, fluorescence, graphene, hydrolysis, quantitative analysis, single-stranded DNA
Using the remarkable difference in the affinity of graphene oxide (GO) with double strand DNA (dsDNA) and short DNA fragments, we report for the first time a GO-based nonrestriction nuclease responsive system. Our system was composed of GO and a fluorescent dye fluorescein amidite (FAM)-labeled dsDNA substrate (F-dsDNA). At first, the fluorescence of this F-dsDNA substrate was quenched upon addition of GO. When nuclease was added to the mixture of dsDNA and GO, hydrolysis of dsDNA was initiated and small DNA fragments were produced. As a result, the short FAM-linked DNA fragments were released from GO due to the weak affinity of GO with short DNA fragments, and the fluorescence got a restoration. At present, many sensing systems are based on the fact that GO prefers to bind long single strand DNA (ssDNA) over dsDNA or short ssDNA. As for our system, GO has a prior binding with dsDNA over short DNA fragments. Compared with previous methods, this assay platform has some advantages. First, since GO can be prepared in large quantities from graphite available at very low cost, this method shows advantages of simplicity and cost efficiency. Besides, the proposed GO-based nuclease assay provides high sensitivity due to the super quenching capacity of GO. Using deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) as a model system, DNase I activity can be quantitatively analyzed by the velocity of the enzymatic reaction, and 1.75UmL⁻¹ DNase I can be significantly detected. Moreover, the fluorescent intensity with various concentrations of nuclease becomes highly discriminating after 3–8min. Thus, it is possible to detect nuclease activity within 3–8min, which demonstrates another advantage of quick response of the present system. Finally, use of dsDNA as substrate, our method can achieve real-time nuclease activity/inhibition assay, which is time-saving and effortless.