Design of DNA nanostructure-based interfacial probes for the electrochemical detection of nucleic acids directly in whole blood†
Here we report a robust and sensitive DNA nanostructure-based electrochemical (E-nanoDNA) sensor that utilizes tetrahedral DNA nanostructures (TDNs) as an interfacial probe to detect biomolecules in a single-step procedure. In this study, we have firstly demonstrated that the use of TDNs can significantly suppress electrochemical background signals compared to traditional linear DNA probes upon introduction of base mismatches in the edges of TDNs. After further optimization of the two functional strands in the TDNs, quantitative, one-step detection of DNA can be achieved in the picomolar range in less than 10 min, and directly in complex media. Moreover, the baseline drift of this biosensor can be greatly decreased even after several hours in flowing whole blood in vitro, which suggests that the sensor holds potential to be employed in live animals. Furthermore, through replacing functional strands with aptamers or other DNA elements, this E-nanoDNA sensor can be easily used to probe various analytes, broadening the application range of the proposed sensor.