Programming a topologically constrained DNA nanostructure into a sensor
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Many rationally engineered DNA nanostructures use mechanically interlocked topologies to connect individual DNA components, and their physical connectivity is achieved through the formation of a strong linking duplex. The existence of such a structural element also poses a significant topological constraint on functions of component rings. Herein, we hypothesize and confirm that DNA catenanes with a strong linking duplex prevent component rings from acting as the template for rolling circle amplification (RCA). However, by using an RNA-containing DNA  catenane with a strong linking duplex, we show that a stimuli-responsive RNA-cleaving DNAzyme can linearize one component ring, and thus enable RCA, producing an ultra-sensitive biosensing system. As an example, a DNA catenane biosensor is engineered to detect the model bacterial pathogen Escherichia coli through binding of a secreted protein, with a detection limit of 10 cells ml(-1), thus establishing a new platform for further applications of mechanically interlocked DNA nanostructures.
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