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Fast, affordable, portable, and sensitive technology to detect COVID-19 is critical to address the current outbreak. Here, we present a CRISPR/Cas12a-derived electrochemical aptasensor for cost-effective, fast, and ultrasensitive COVID-19 nucleocapsid protein (Np) detection. First, an electrochemical sensing interface was fabricated by immobilizing methylene blue labeled poly adenines DNA sequence (polyA-MB electrochemical reporter) on a gold electrode surface. Second, an arched probe was prepared via hybridization of Np aptamer and an activator strand. In the presence of COVID-19 Np, the activator strand could be released from the arched probe due to the specific interaction between the target and the aptamer, which then activated the trans-cleavage activity of the CRISPR/Cas12a system. Subsequently, the polyA-MB reporters were cleaved from the electrode surface, decreasing the current of differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) at a potential of -0.27 V(vs. Ag/AgCl). The CRISPR/Cas12a-derived electrochemical aptasensor shows a highly efficient performance for COVID-19 Np detection in 50 pg mL-1 to 100 ng mL-1 with a limit of detection (LOD) low to 16.5 pg mL-1. Notably, the whole process of one test can be completed within 30 min. Simultaneously, the aptasensor displays a high selectivity to other proteins. The further measurements demonstrate that the aptasensor is robust in a natural system for point-of-care testing, such as in tap water, milk, or serum. The aptasensor is universal and expandable and holds great potential in the COVID-19 early diagnosis, environmental surveillance, food security, and other aspects. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Cong Han, Wenjin Li, Qian Li, Wenping Xing, Hang Luo, Haishuo Ji, Xiaona Fang, Zhaofeng Luo, Liyun Zhang. CRISPR/Cas12a-Derived electrochemical aptasensor for ultrasensitive detection of COVID-19 nucleocapsid protein. Biosensors & bioelectronics. 2022 Mar 15;200:113922

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PMID: 34990959

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