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Anal Chem. 2013 May 7;85(9):4321-7. doi: 10.1021/ac301669y. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Chimeric RNA-DNA molecular beacons for quantification of nucleic acids, single nucleotide polymophisms, and nucleic acid damage.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.


Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are the main cause for variations in the human genome. DNA lesions, such as cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs), [6-4] pyrimidine-pyrimidinones, dewar pyrimidinones, and photohydrates, can subsequently lead to mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and cell death. Much effort has focused on methods for detecting DNA, SNPs, or damaged nucleic acids. However, almost all of the proposed methods consist of multistep procedures, are limited to specific types of damage, some of these methods require expensive instruments, and some suffer from a high level of interferences. In this paper, we present a novel, simple, mix-and-read assay for the detection of nucleic acids that is general for all types of SNPs and nucleic acid damage. This method uses a chimeric RNA-DNA molecular beacon (chMB). The calibration curve of the chMB for detecting single base mismatch and ultraviolet (UV)-induced DNA damage shows good linearity (R(2) = 0.981 and 0.996, respectively) and limits of detection of 10.4 ± 2.2 and 8.64 ± 1.2 nM, respectively. The chimeric RNA-DNA MB proves to be a more sensitive and selective tool for the quantification of nucleic acids, DNA mismatches, and UV-induced DNA damage than DNA MBs.

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