Sensitive and direct electrochemical detection of double-stranded DNA utilizing alkaline phosphatase-labelled zinc finger proteins
Direct detection of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) using zinc finger proteins (ZFPs) is of great importance in biomedical applications such as identifying pathogens and circulating DNAs. However, its sensitivity is still not sufficiently high because limited signalling labels can be conjugated or fused. Herein, we report sensitive and direct detection of dsDNA using (i) alkaline phosphatase (ALP) as a fast catalytic label conjugated to ZFPs along with (ii) electrochemical measurement of an ALP product (L-ascorbic acid) at the indium–tin oxide electrode with a high signal-to-background ratio. ALP is simply conjugated to a ZFP through lysine residues in a ZFP purification tag, a maltose binding protein (MBP). Sandwich-type electrochemical detection of dsDNA allows a detection limit of ca. 100 fM without using DNA amplification.