Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.142, No.22, 9975-9981, 2020
Ultrafast DNA Sensors with DNA Framework-Bridged Hybridization Reactions
Intracellular DNA-based hybridization reactions generally occur under tension rather than in free states, which are spatiotemporally controlled in physiological conditions. However, how nanomechanical forces affect DNA hybridization efficiencies in in-vitro DNA assays, for example, biosensors or biochips, remains largely elusive. Here, we design DNA framework-based nanomechanical handles that can control the stretching states of DNA molecules. Using a pair of tetrahedral DNA framework (TDF) nanostructured handles, we develop bridge DNA sensors that can capture target DNA with ultrafast speed and high efficiency. We find that the rigid TDF handles bind two ends of a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and hold it in a stretched state, with an apparent stretching length comparable to its counterpart of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) via atomic force microscopy measurement. The DNA stretching effect of ssDNA is then monitored using single-molecule fluorescence energy transfer (FRET), resulting in decreased FRET efficiency in the stretched ssDNA. By controlling the stretching state of ssDNA, we obtained significantly improved hybridization kinetics (within 1 min) and hybridization efficiency (similar to 98%) under the target concentration of 500 nM. The bridge DNA sensors demonstrated high sensitivity (1 fM), high specificity (single mismatch mutation discrimination), and high selectivity (suitable for the detection in serum and blood) under the target concentration of 10 nM. Controlling the stretching state of ssDNA shows great potential in biosensors, bioimaging, and biochips applications.