Examination of Bacterial Inhibition Using a Catalytic DNA Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Determination of accurate dosage of existing antibiotics and discovery of new antimicrobials or probiotics entail simple but effective methods that can conveniently track bacteria growth and inhibition. Here we explore the application of a previously reported fluorogenic E. coli-specific DNAzyme (catalytic DNA), RFD-EC1, as a molecular probe for monitoring bacterial inhibition exerted by antibiotics and for studying bacterial competition as a result of cohabitation. Because the DNAzyme method provides a convenient way to monitor the growth of E. coli, it is capable of determining the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotics much faster than the conventional optical density (OD) method. In addition, since the target for RFD-EC1 is an extracellular protein molecule from E. coli, RFD-EC1 is able to identify pore-forming antibiotics or compounds that can cause membrane leakage. Finally, RFD-EC1 can be used to analyse the competition of cohabitating bacteria, specifically the inhibition of growth of E. coli by Bacillus subtilis. The current work represents the first exploration of a catalytic DNA for microbiological applications and showcases the utility of bacteria-sensing fluorogenic DNAzymes as simple molecular probes to facilitate antibiotic and probiotic research.


  • Qu, Long
  • Ali, M Monsur
  • Aguirre, Sergio D
  • Liu, Hongxia
  • Jiang, Yuyang
  • Li, Yingfu

publication date

  • 2014