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Nanostructuring Synergetic Base-Stacking Effect: An Enhanced Versatile Sandwich Sensor Enables Ultrasensitive Detection of MicroRNAs in Blood

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posted on 28.07.2020, 21:13 by Xin-Xin Peng, Tongtong Guo, Hao Lu, Linlin Yue, You Li, Dan Jin, Guo-Jun Zhang, Fan Yang
MicroRNA (MiRNA)-based noninvasive diagnostics are hampered by the challenge in the quantification of circulating miRNAs using a general strategy. Here, we present a base-stacking effect-mediated ultrasensitive electrochemical miRNA sensor (BSee-miR) with a universal sandwich configuration. In the BSee-miR, a short DNA probe (10 nucleotides) self-assembled on a gold electrode surface could effectively capture the target miRNA synergizing with another sequence based on coaxial sandwich base-stacking, which rivals the fully complementary strength. Importantly, such a sandwich structure is flexible to incorporate signal amplification strategies (e.g., biotin–avidin) that are usually difficult to achieve in short sequence detection. Using this design, the BSee-miR achieves a broad dynamic range with a detection limit down to 7.5 fM. Furthermore, we found a high-curvature nanostructuring synergetic base-stacking effect that could improve the sensitivity of the BSee-miR by two orders of magnitude (79.3 aM). Our BSee-miR also has a single-base resolution to discriminate the highly homologous miRNAs. More importantly, this approach is universal and has been used to probe target miRNAs varying in sequences and secondary structures. Our ultrasensitive sensor could detect miRNA in cell lysates and human blood and distinguish cancer patients from normal individuals, promising a versatile tool to measure clinically relevant miRNAs for tumor diagnostics.

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