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Ultrasensitive homogeneous electrochemical strategy for DNA methyltransferase activity assay based on autonomous exonuclease III-assisted isothermal cycling signal amplification.

Biosensors & bioelectronics (2015-04-04)
Wei Li, Xiaojuan Liu, Ting Hou, Haiyin Li, Feng Li
ABSTRACT

DNA methylation catalyzed by methyltransferase (MTase) plays an important role in many biological processes, including gene transcription, genomic imprinting and cellular differentiation. Herein, a simple and novel homogeneous electrochemical strategy for ultrasensitive DNA MTase activity assay has been successfully developed, which is based on methylation-triggered exonuclease (Exo) III-assisted autonomous isothermal cycling signal amplification. A duplex DNA (P1-P2 hybrid) containing the methylation-responsive sequence is ingeniously designed. In the presence of DNA adenine methylation (Dam) methyltransferase (MTase), P1-P2 hybrid is methylated and subsequently recognized and cleaved by Dpn I endonuclease, which triggers the Exo III-catalyzed autonomous cycling cleavage processes. Therefore, a large amount of methylene blue-labeled mononucleotides are released, generating a significantly amplified electrochemical signal toward the Dam MTase activity assay. The directly measured detection limit down to 0.004 U/mL is obtained, which is one or two orders magnitude lower than that of the approaches reported in literature. Since this assay is carried out in homogeneous solution phase under isothermal condition and sophisticated probe immobilization processes are avoided, it is very simple and easy to implement. Due to its advantages of ultrahigh sensitivity, excellent selectivity and simple operation, the as-proposed strategy has great potential in the applications in DNA methylation related clinical practices and biochemical researches.

MATERIALS
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