Hybridization chain reaction amplification of microRNA detection with a tetrahedral DNA nanostructure-based electrochemical biosensor

Anal Chem. 2014 Feb 18;86(4):2124-30. doi: 10.1021/ac4037262. Epub 2014 Feb 4.


There remains a great challenge in the sensitive detection of microRNA because of the short length and low abundance of microRNAs in cells. Here, we have demonstrated an ultrasensitive detection platform for microRNA by combining the tetrahedral DNA nanostructure probes and hybridization chain reaction (HCR) amplification. The detection limits for DNA and microRNA are 100 aM and 10 aM (corresponding to 600 microRNAs in a 100 μL sample), respectively. Compared to the widely used supersandwich amplification, the detection limits are improved by 3 orders of magnitude. The uncontrolled surface immobilization and consumption of target molecules that limit the amplification efficiency of supersandwich are eliminated in our platform. Taking advantage of DNA nanotechnology, we employed three-dimensional tetrahedral DNA nanostructure as the scaffold to immobilize DNA recognition probes to increase the reactivity and accessibility, while DNA nanowire tentacles are used for efficient signal amplification by capturing multiple catalytic enzymes in a highly ordered way. The synergetic effect of DNA tetrahedron and nanowire tentacles have proven to greatly improve sensitivity for both DNA and microRNA detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Electrochemical Techniques / methods*
  • MicroRNAs / analysis*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization / methods*
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • MicroRNAs
  • DNA