American Chemical Society
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Intermolecular and Intramolecular Quencher Based Quantum Dot Nanoprobes for Multiplexed Detection of Endonuclease Activity and Inhibition

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-02-22, 12:44 authored by Yong Huang, Shulin Zhao, Ming Shi, Jia Chen, Zhen-Feng Chen, Hong Liang
DNA cleavage by endonucleases plays an important role in many biological events such as DNA replication, recombination, and repair and is used as a powerful tool in medicinal chemistry. However, conventional methods for assaying endonuclease activity and inhibition by gel electrophoresis and chromatography techniques are time-consuming, laborious, not sensitive, or costly. Herein, we combine the high specificity of DNA cleavage reactions with the benefits of quantum dots (QDs) and ultrahigh quenching abilities of inter- and intramolecular quenchers to develop highly sensitive and specific nanoprobes for multiplexed detection of endonucleases. The nanoprobe was prepared by conjugating two sets of DNA substrates carrying quenchers onto the surface of aminated QDs through direct assembly and DNA hybridization. With this new design, the background fluorescence was significantly suppressed by introducing inter- and intramolecular quenchers. When these nanoprobes are exposed to the targeted endonucleases, specific DNA cleavages occur and pieces of DNA fragments are released from the QD surface along with the quenchers, resulting in fluorescence recovery. The endonuclease activity was quantified by monitoring the change in the fluorescence intensity. The detection was accomplished with a single excitation light. Multiplexed detection was demonstrated by simultaneously assaying EcoRI and BamHI (as model analytes) using two different emissions of QDs. The limits of detection were 4.0 × 10–4 U/mL for EcoRI and 8.0 × 10–4 U/mL for BamHI, which were at least 100 times more sensitive than traditional gel electrophoresis and chromatography assays. Moreover, the potential application of the proposed method for screening endonuclease inhibitors has also been demonstrated. The assay protocol presented here proved to be simple, sensitive, effective, and easy to carry out.