Multiplexed CRISPR-Based Nucleic Acid Detection Using a Single Cas Protein

Jinyu Fu, Linghao Zhang, Yanlin Long, Zihe Liu, Geng Meng, Huimin Zhao, Xin Su, Shuobo Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thanks to its ease, speed, and sensitivity, CRISPR-based nucleic acid detection has been increasingly explored for molecular diagnostics. However, one of its major limitations is lack of multiplexing capability because the detection relies on the trans-cleavage activity of the Cas protein, which necessitates the use of multiple orthogonal Cas proteins for multiplex detection. Here we report the development of a multiplexed CRISPR-based nucleic acid detection system with single-nucleotide resolution using a single Cas protein (Cas12a). This method, termed as CRISPR-TMSD, integrates the toehold-mediated strand displacement (TMSD) reaction, and the cis-cleavage activity of the Cas protein and multiplexed detection are achieved using a single Cas protein owing to the use of target-specific reporters. A set of computational simulation toolkits was used to design the TMSD reporter, allowing for highly sensitive and specific identification of target sequences. In combination with the recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA), the detection limit can reach as low as 1 copy/μL. As proof of concept, CRISPR-TMSD was subsequently used to detect an oncogenic gene and SARS-CoV-2 RNA with a single-nucleotide resolution. This work represents a conceptually new strategy for designing a CRISPR-based diagnostic system and has great potential to expand the application of CRISPR-based diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16089-16097
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 7 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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