American Chemical Society
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On-Site-Activated Transmembrane Logic DNA Nanodevice Enables Highly Specific Imaging of Cancer Cells by Targeting Tumor-Related Nucleolin and Intracellular MicroRNA

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-19, 05:03 authored by Xing Huang, Meng Chen, Zhan Huang, Yanfei Zhang, Taorong Shen, Yakun Shi, Yanli Tong, Xiaoyong Zou, Si-Yang Liu, Jianhe Guo, Zong Dai
The ability to specifically image cancer cells is essential for cancer diagnosis; however, this ability is limited by the false positive associated with single-biomarker sensors and off-site activation of “always active” nucleic acid probes. Herein, we propose an on-site, activatable, transmembrane logic DNA (TLD) nanodevice that enables dual-biomarker sensing of tumor-related nucleolin and intracellular microRNA for highly specific cancer cell imaging. The TLD nanodevice is constructed by assembling a tetrahedral DNA nanostructure containing a linker (L)–blocker (B)–DNAzyme (D)–substrate (S) unit. AS-apt, a DNA strand containing an elongated segment and the AS1411 aptamer, is pre-anchored to nucleolin protein, which is specifically expressed on the membrane of cancer cells. Initially, the TLD nanodevice is firmly sealed by the blocker containing an AS-apt recognition zone, which prevents off-site activation. When the nanodevice encounters a target cancer cell, AS-apt (input 1) binds to the blocker and unlocks the sensing ability of the nanodevice for miR-21 (input 2). The TLD nanodevice achieves dual-biomarker sensing from the cell membrane to the cytoplasm, thereby ensuring cancer cell-specific imaging. This TLD nanodevice represents a promising strategy for the highly reliable analysis of intracellular biomarkers and a promising platform for cancer diagnosis and related biomedical applications.