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Flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1), an endogenous nuclease with the ability to cleave the 5' overhang of branched dsDNA, is of significance in DNA replication and repair. The overexpression of FEN1 is common in cancer because of the ubiquitous upregulation of DNA replication; thus, FEN1 has been recognized as a potential biomarker in oncological investigations. However, few analytical methods targeting FEN1 with high sensitivity and simplicity have been developed. This work developed a signal-amplified detection of FEN1 based on the cleavage-induced ligation of a dumbbell DNA probe and rolling circle amplification (RCA). A flapped dumbbell DNA probe (FDP) was rationally designed with a FEN1 cleavable flap at the 5' end. The cleavage generated a nick site with juxtaposed 5' phosphate and 3' hydroxyl ends, which were linkable by T4 DNA ligase to form a closed dumbbell DNA probe (CDP) with a circular conformation. The CDP functioned as a template for RCA, which produced abundant DNA that could be probed using SYBR Green I. The highly sensitive detection of FEN1 with a limit of detection of 15 fM was achieved, and this method showed high specificity, which enabled the quantification of FEN1 in real samples. The inhibitory effects of chemicals on FEN1 were also evaluated. This study represents the first attempt to develop an FEN1 assay that involves signal amplification, and the novel biosensor method enriches the tools for FEN1-based diagnostics.


Bingzhi Li, Anqi Xia, Siying Xie, Lei Lin, Zhirun Ji, Tiying Suo, Xing Zhang, He Huang. Signal-Amplified Detection of the Tumor Biomarker FEN1 Based on Cleavage-Induced Ligation of a Dumbbell DNA Probe and Rolling Circle Amplification. Analytical chemistry. 2021 Feb 16;93(6):3287-3294

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PMID: 33529005

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