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Molecular Beacon Enables Combination of Highly Processive and Highly Sensitive Rolling Circle Amplification Readouts for Detection of DNA-Modifying Enzymes

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Here we present an optimized readout format for detection of the circularized products from a DNA-based sensor for measurement of DNA-modifying enzymes including DNA Topoisomerase I. The basic design of the DNA-sensor relies on the use of a substrate that can be circularized by the activity of DNA-modifying enzymes like type IB Topoisomerases and subsequently amplified by a rolling circle amplification (RCA) mechanism. The RCA process can be followed in real-time by the addition of a molecular beacon with a fluorophore/quencher pair. Upon hybridization to the amplified product, the fluorophore/quencher pair is separated, giving rise to a fluorescent signal, measurable in pseudo real-time using a qPCR machine or in a fluorimeter. The RCA products in complex with the molecular beacon can subsequently be moved to microscopic slides and analyzed in a fluorescence microscope. We describe the proof of the principle of this molecular beacon-based method combining the qPCR readout format with the standard Rolling circle Enhanced Enzymatic Assay previously reported. Although the qPCR setup is less sensitive, it allows easy, fast, and high-throughput measurement of enzyme activities. Human Topoisomerase IB (TopIB) is a well-known target for the clinically used anticancer drugs of the camptothecin family. The cytotoxic effect of camptothecins correlates directly with the intracellular TopIB activity affecting reversibly the Topoisomerase/DNA cleavage complexes. Therefore, we envisioned that the presented method may find use for the prediction of cellular drug response and for drug screening to discover novel molecules that specifically inhibit TopIB or other DNA-modifying enzymes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Life
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

    Research areas

  • Rolling circle amplification, topoisomerase IB, molecular beacon, FRET

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