In vitro selection of a sodium-specific DNAzyme and its application in intracellular sensing

Seyed Fakhreddin Torabi, Peiwen Wu, Claire E. McGhee, Lu Chen, Kevin Hwang, Nan Zheng, Jianjun Cheng, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Over the past two decades, enormous progress has been made in designing fluorescent sensors or probes for divalent metal ions. In contrast, the development of fluorescent sensors for monovalent metal ions, such as sodium (Na+), has remained underdeveloped, even though Na+ is one the most abundant metal ions in biological systems and plays a critical role in many biological processes. Here, we report the in vitro selection of the first (to our knowledge) Na+-specific, RNA-cleaving deoxyribozyme (DNAzyme) with a fast catalytic rate [observed rate constant (kobs) ∼0.1 min-1], and the transformation of this DNAzyme into a fluorescent sensor for Na+ by labeling the enzyme strand with a quencher at the 3′ end, and the DNA substrate strand with a fluorophore and a quencher at the 5′ and 3′ ends, respectively. The presence of Na+ catalyzed cleavage of the substrate strand at an internal ribonucleotide adenosine (rA) site, resulting in release of the fluorophore from its quenchers and thus a significant increase in fluorescence signal. The sensor displays a remarkable selectivity (>10,000-fold) for Na+ over competing metal ions and has a detection limit of 135 μM (3.1 ppm). Furthermore, we demonstrate that this DNAzyme-based sensor can readily enter cells with the aid of α-helical cationic polypeptides. Finally, by protecting the cleavage site of the Na+-specific DNAzyme with a photolabile o-nitrobenzyl group, we achieved controlled activation of the sensor after DNAzyme delivery into cells. Together, these results demonstrate that such a DNAzyme-based sensor provides a promising platform for detection and quantification of Na+ in living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5903-5908
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - May 12 2015

Keywords

  • Deoxyribozyme
  • Fluorescent sensor
  • In vitro selection
  • Intracellular imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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