A Highly Selective Mn(II)-Specific DNAzyme and Its Application in Intracellular Sensing

Huanhuan Fan, Claire E. McGhee, Ryan J. Lake, Zhenglin Yang, Zijian Guo, Xiao Bing Zhang, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Manganese is an essential trace element in the human body that acts as a cofactor in many enzymes and metabolisms. It is important to develop methods to detect Mn2+ in living cells. While fluorescent sensors have been very effective in detecting other metal ions, Mn2+-specific fluorescent sensors are rarely reported due to nonspecific fluorescence quenching by the paramagnetism of Mn2+ and poor selectivity against other metal ions such as Ca2+ and Mg2+. To address these issues, we herein report in vitro selection of an RNA-cleaving DNAzyme with exceptionally high selectivity for Mn2+. Through converting it into a fluorescent sensor using a catalytic beacon approach, Mn2+ sensing in immune cells and tumor cells has been achieved. The sensor is also used to monitor degradation of manganese-based nanomaterials such as MnOx in tumor cells. Therefore, this work provides an excellent tool to detect Mn2+ in biological systems and monitor the Mn2+-involved immune response and antitumor therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1615-1622
Number of pages8
JournalJACS Au
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 26 2023


  • DNAzymes
  • Mn
  • fluorescence imaging
  • high selectivity
  • in vitro selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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