DNA technology based bio-responsive nanomaterials have been widely studied as promising tools for biomedical applications. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and graphene oxide (GO) sheets are representative zero- and two-dimensional nanomaterials that have long been combined with DNA technology for point-of-care diagnostics. Herein, a cascade amplification system based on duplex-specific nuclease (DSN)-assisted target recycling and electrocatalytic water-splitting is demonstrated for the detection of microRNA. Target microRNAs can form DNA: RNA heteroduplexes with DNA probes on the surface of AuNPs, which can be hydrolyzed by DSN. MicroRNAs are preserved during the reaction and released into the suspension for the digestion of multiple DNA probes. After the DSN-based reaction, AuNPs are collected and mixed with GO to form AuNP/GO nanocomposite on an electrode for the following electrocatalytic amplification. The utilization of AuNP/GO nanocomposite offers large surface area, exceptional affinity to water molecules, and facilitated mass diffusion for the water-splitting reaction. For let-7b detection, the proposed biosensor achieved a limit detection of 1.5 fM in 80 min with a linear detection range of approximately four orders of magnitude. Moreover, it has the capability of discriminating non-target microRNAs containing even single-nucleotide mismatches, thus holding considerable potential for clinical diagnostics.
- Gold nanoparticles
- Graphene oxide
- MicroRNA detection
- Electrocatalytic amplification
- Duplex-specific nuclease