A Catalytic DNA Activated by a Specific Strain of Bacterial Pathogen

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2016 Feb 12;55(7):2431-4. doi: 10.1002/anie.201510125. Epub 2015 Dec 16.


Pathogenic strains of bacteria are known to cause various infectious diseases and there is a growing demand for molecular probes that can selectively recognize them. Here we report a special DNAzyme (catalytic DNA), RFD-CD1, that shows exquisite specificity for a pathogenic strain of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). RFD-CD1 was derived by an in vitro selection approach where a random-sequence DNA library was allowed to react with an unpurified molecular mixture derived from this strain of C. difficle, coupled with a subtractive selection strategy to eliminate cross-reactivities to unintended C. difficile strains and other bacteria species. RFD-CD1 is activated by a truncated version of TcdC, a transcription factor, that is unique to the targeted strain of C. difficle. Our study demonstrates for the first time that in vitro selection offers an effective approach for deriving functional nucleic acid probes that are capable of achieving strain-specific recognition of bacterial pathogens.

Keywords: DNAzymes; aptamers; bacterial detection; biosensors; in vitro selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile / pathogenicity*
  • DNA, Catalytic / metabolism*


  • DNA, Catalytic