New transition-metal-dependent DNAzymes as efficient endonucleases and as selective metal biosensors

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Like proteins and RNA molecules, many DNA molecules have now been shown to catalyze a variety of reactions and are thus called DNAzymes. With limited building blocks, DNAzymes need to recruit other cofactors in order to match other enzymes in terms of reaction diversity and catalytic efficiency. Several unique properties make transition-metal ions an ideal choice of cofactor for DNAzymes. Indeed, new DNAzymes that bind transition-metal ions with high affinity and selectivity have been obtained through the use of a powerful combinatorial biology tool called in vitro selection. This accomplishment now makes it possible to obtain different classes of metallo-DNAzymes in the laboratory within a short period of time. It also offers a rare opportunity to compare and contrast structural and functional properties of metal-binding sites in proteins and in DNAzymes. The resulting transition-metal-dependent DNAzymes have displayed high activity toward cleavage of DNA and RNA and thus hold promise for their biochemical and pharmaceutical applications. Finally, the use of DNAzymes as a new class of highly sensitive and selective biosensors for metal ions has been demonstrated recently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4588-4596
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 18 2002


  • Biosensors
  • Deoxyribozymes
  • In vitro selection
  • Metalloenzymes
  • Nucleases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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