Application of DNA Machineries for the Barcode Patterned Detection of Genes or Proteins

Zhixin Zhou, Guofeng Luo, Verena Wulf, Itamar Willner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study introduces an analytical platform for the detection of genes or aptamer-ligand complexes by nucleic acid barcode patterns generated by DNA machineries. The DNA machineries consist of nucleic acid scaffolds that include specific recognition sites for the different genes or aptamer-ligand analytes. The binding of the analytes to the scaffolds initiate, in the presence of the nucleotide mixture, a cyclic polymerization/nicking machinery that yields displaced strands of variable lengths. The electrophoretic separation of the resulting strands provides barcode patterns for the specific detection of the different analytes. Mixtures of DNA machineries that yield, upon sensing of different genes (or aptamer ligands), one-, two-, or three-band barcode patterns are described. The combination of nucleic acid scaffolds acting, in the presence of polymerase/nicking enzyme and nucleotide mixture, as DNA machineries, that generate multiband barcode patterns provide an analytical platform for the detection of an individual gene out of many possible genes. The diversity of genes (or other analytes) that can be analyzed by the DNA machineries and the barcode patterned imaging is given by the Pascal's triangle. As a proof-of-concept, the detection of one of six genes, that is, TP53, Werner syndrome, Tay-Sachs normal gene, BRCA1, Tay-Sachs mutant gene, and cystic fibrosis disorder gene by six two-band barcode patterns is demonstrated. The advantages and limitations of the detection of analytes by polymerase/nicking DNA machineries that yield barcode patterns as imaging readout signals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6468-6476
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


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