An investigation of solid-state nanopores on label-free metal-ion signalling via the transition of RNA-cleavage DNAzyme and the hybridization chain reaction†
Recent advances have proven solid-state nanopores as a powerful analysis platform that enables label-free and separation-free single-molecule analysis. However, the relatively low resolution still limits its application because many chemicals or targets with small sizes could not be recognized in a label-free condition. In this paper, we provide a possible solution that uses solid-state nanopores for small species signaling via the transition of huge DNA assembly products. DNAzyme responding to metal ions and the hybridization chain reaction (HCR) generating nanopore-detectable dsDNA concatamers are used as the transition model set. By the two-step DNAzyme-HCR transition, Pb2+ that was too tiny to be sensed was successfully recognized by the nanopore. The whole process happened in a completely homogeneous solution without any chemical modification. During condition optimization, we also discussed one possible application challenge that may affect the HCR signal-background distinction. Solid-state nanopores provide a potential solution to this challenge due to its ability to profile product length or even 3D structure information.