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Anal Chem. 2017 Feb 21;89(4):2181-2185. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b04709. Epub 2017 Jan 30.

DNA Duplex Engineering for Enantioselective Fluorescent Sensor.

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Institute of Physical Chemistry, Zhejiang Normal University , Jinhua 321004, Zhejiang, China.
School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University , Shanghai 200241, China.


The rapid identification of biomacromolecule structure that has a specific association with chiral enantiomers especially from natural sources will be helpful in developing enantioselective sensor and in speeding up drug exploitation. Herein, owing to its existence also in living cells, apurinic/apyrimidinic site (AP site) was first engineered into ds-DNA duplex to explore its competence in enantiomer selectivity. An AP site-specific fluorophore was utilized as an enantioselective discrimination probe to develop a straightforward chiral sensor using natural tetrahydropalmatine (L- and D-THP) as enantiomer representatives. We found that only L-THP can efficiently replace the prebound fluorophore to cause a significant fluorescence increase due to its specific binding with the AP site (two orders magnitude higher in affinity than binding with D-THP). The AP site binding specificity of L-THP over D-THP was assessed via intrinsic fluorescence, isothermal titration calorimetry, and DNA stability. The enantioselective performance can be easily tuned by the sequences near the AP site and the number of AP sites. A single AP site provides a perfect binding pocket to differentiate the chiral atom-induced structure discrepancy. We expect that our work will inspire interest in engineering local structures into a ds-DNA duplex for developing novel enantioselective sensors.

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