Cyclopentane-Peptide Nucleic Acids for Qualitative, Quantitative, and Repetitive Detection of Nucleic Acids

We report the development of chemically modified peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) as probes for qualitative and quantitative detection of DNA. The remarkable stability of PNAs toward enzymatic degradation makes this class of molecules ideal to develop as part of a diagnostic device that can be used outside of a laboratory setting. Using an enzyme-linked reporter assay, we demonstrate that excellent levels of detection and accuracy for anthrax DNA can be achieved using PNA probes with suitable chemical components designed into the probe. In addition, we report on DNA-templated cross-linking of PNA probes as a way to preserve genetic information for repetitive and subsequent analysis. This report is the first detailed examination of the qualitative and quantitative properties of chemically modified PNA for nucleic acid detection and provides a platform for studying and optimizing PNA probes prior to incorporation into new technological platforms.