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Detection of E.coli 23S rRNA by electrocatalytic “off-on” DNA beacon assay with femtomolar sensitivity

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Prevention of food spoilage, environmental bio-contamination, and pathogenic infections requires rapid and sensitive bacterial detection systems. Among microbial communities, the bacterial strain of Escherichia coli is most widespread, with pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains being biomarkers of bacterial contamination. Here, we have developed a fM-sensitive, simple, and robust electrocatalytically-amplified assay facilitating specific detection of E.coli 23S ribosomal rRNA, in the total RNA sample, after its site-specific cleavage by RNase H enzyme. Gold screen-printed electrodes (SPE) were electrochemically pre-treated to be productively modified with a methylene-blue (MB) – labelled hairpin DNA probes, which hybridization with the E. coli-specific DNA placed MB in the top region of the DNA duplex. The formed duplex acted as an electrical wire, mediating electron transfer from the gold electrode to the DNA-intercalated MB, and further to ferricyanide in solution, enabling its electrocatalytic reduction otherwise impeded on the hairpin-modified SPEs. The assay facilitated 20 min 1 fM detection of both synthetic E. coli DNA and 23S rRNA isolated from E.coli (equivalent to 15 CFU mL−1), and can be extended to fM analysis of nucleic acids isolated from any other bacteria.

TidsskriftBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023

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