Biosensors & bioelectronics

Exonuclease III-based and gold nanoparticle-assisted DNA detection with dual signal amplification.

PMID 22305442


Herein we report a sensitive electrochemical biosensor for DNA detection by making use of exonuclease III and probe DNA functionalized gold nanoparticles. While probe DNA P1 modified on a gold electrode surface can self-hybridize into a stem-loop structure with an exonuclease III-resistant 3' overhang end, in the presence of target DNA, P1 may also hybridize with the target DNA to form a duplex region. Therefore, exonuclease III may selectively digest P1 from its 3'-hydroxyl termini until the duplex is fully consumed. Since a single target DNA can trigger exonuclease III digestion of numerous P1 strands, the first signal amplification is achieved. On the other hand, since the digested P1, exposing its complementary sequence to probe DNA P2, can further hybridize with P2 that has been previously modified on the surface of gold nanoparticles, many nanoparticles loaded with numerous DNA strands are immobilized onto the electrode surface. Consequently, large amount of electroactive molecules [Ru(NH(3))(6)](3+) can bind with the DNA strands to produce an intense electrochemical response as the second signal amplification. Based on the studies with cyclic voltammetry (CV) and chronocoulometry (CC) techniques, the proposed biosensor can sensitively detect specific target DNA at a picomolar level with high specificity.