Magnetic Field-Activated Sensing of mRNA in Living Cells

J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Sep 6;139(35):12117-12120. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b06022. Epub 2017 Aug 25.


Detection of specific mRNA in living cells has attracted significant attention in the past decade. Probes that can be easily delivered into cells and activated at the desired time can contribute to understanding translation, trafficking and degradation of mRNA. Here we report a new strategy termed magnetic field-activated binary deoxyribozyme (MaBiDZ) sensor that enables both efficient delivery and temporal control of mRNA sensing by magnetic field. MaBiDZ uses two species of magnetic beads conjugated with different components of a multicomponent deoxyribozyme (DZ) sensor. The DZ sensor is activated only in the presence of a specific target mRNA and when a magnetic field is applied. Here we demonstrate that MaBiDZ sensor can be internalized in live MCF-7 breast cancer cells and activated by a magnetic field to fluorescently report the presence of specific mRNA, which are cancer biomarkers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA, Catalytic / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Magnetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • DNA, Catalytic
  • RNA, Messenger