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Nat Biotechnol. 2000 Oct;18(10):1096-100.

Mutation detection by electrocatalysis at DNA-modified electrodes.

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Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

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  • Nat Biotechnol 2000 Dec;18(12):1318.


Detection of mutations and damaged DNA bases is important for the early diagnosis of genetic disease. Here we describe an electrocatalytic method for the detection of single-base mismatches as well as DNA base lesions in fully hybridized duplexes, based on charge transport through DNA films. Gold electrodes modified with preassembled DNA duplexes are used to monitor the electrocatalytic signal of methylene blue, a redox-active DNA intercalator, coupled to [Fe(CN)6]3-. The presence of mismatched or damaged DNA bases substantially diminishes the electrocatalytic signal. Because this assay is not a measure of differential hybridization, all single-base mismatches, including thermodynamically stable GT and GA mismatches, can be detected without stringent hybridization conditions. Furthermore, many common DNA lesions and "hot spot" mutations in the human p53 genome can be distinguished from perfect duplexes. Finally, we have demonstrated the application of this technology in a chip-based format. This system provides a sensitive method for probing the integrity of DNA sequences and a completely new approach to single-base mismatch detection.

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