A groundbreaking scientific breakthrough has been reported in the latest edition of Analytica Chimica Acta. Researchers from the College of Chemistry at Fuzhou University, in collaboration with Fujian Cancer Hospital & Fujian Medical University Cancer Hospital, have developed a state-of-the-art fluorescence nano-orbital biosensor that promises extremely sensitive and accurate detection of microRNAs (miRNAs). Their pioneering work is detailed in the journal’s piece titled “Novel fluorescence nano-orbital biosensor for highly sensitive microRNA detection,” DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342172.

MicroRNAs are tiny nucleotides that play a crucial role in regulating gene expression and, consequently, cellular function. Alterations in their levels have been linked to various diseases, making their detection vital for early prevention and diagnosis in clinical settings. However, the low expression abundance and small molecular weight of certain miRNAs have historically made accurate detection challenging using conventional methods.

The Technology: A Leap in Biosensor Design

The innovative biosensor technology is based on an exponential amplification reaction with cascaded hybridization chain reaction and DNAzyme nucleic acid circuits (E-NOF biosensor) to trigger the construction of the fluorescence nano-orbitals (NOF). By incorporating two fluorescent dyes, Cy3 and Cy5, this intricate system can recognize and quantifiably detect miRNA from as low as 1 fM to 100 nM, with a detection limit reaching an impressive 0.129 fM. This highly sensitive detection is made possible as the nano-orbitals’ construction causes fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between Cy3 and Cy5, creating a measurable dual fluorescence signal.

The Advantages of E-NOF: Quantitative, Accelerated, and Sensitive

The research team, led by Professor Chen Xian, has discovered that the E-NOF biosensor offers these marked advantages over existing detection systems:

1. Increased Sensitivity: By cascading the DNAzyme nucleic acid circuit with hybridization chain reaction (HCR), fluorophores on the nano-orbitals are enriched, which considerably enhances the fluorescence signal.
2. Speed and Efficiency: The novel biosensor can produce accurate results in just 120 minutes, an impressive improvement over traditional HCR systems.
3. Quantifiable Results: Through the ratio of the two fluorescent signals, quantitative analysis of miRNA is obtainable quickly.

Implications for Clinical Diagnostics and Future Research

The E-NOF biosensor’s high sensitivity and rapid response make it a promising tool for clinical diagnostics. In particular, the successful detection of miRNA-1246, commonly associated with various forms of cancer, offers exciting potential for cancer research and early detection efforts. This development stands to greatly benefit clinical practice by providing a more efficient pathway for identifying pertinent biomarkers for diseases at their nascent stages.

Expert Endorsements and Anticipated Impact

The scientific community has welcomed the introduction of the E-NOF biosensor as a transformative development. Experts in the field predict that this will not only enhance the capabilities of clinical diagnostics but also pave the way for improved personalized medicine through the precise identification and monitoring of disease markers.

The Research Team and Academic Contributions

The authors of the study, Fan Cong, Xie Longjie, Zhao Feng, Wang Jingjing, Lin Xiandong, and Chen Xian, have expressed their commitment to furthering their research in nucleic acid biosensors. Their paper details no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could influence the reported work, ensuring the integrity of their scientific contribution.

References

1. Fan Cong C, et al. Analytica Chimica Acta (2024), DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2023.342172.
2. MicroRNAs in human health and disease. Nat Rev Genet. 2009;10(2):116-29.
3. Biosensors technology: new wave in cancer diagnosis. Cancer Rep Rev. 2017;1(2):1-6.
4. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer between quantum dots and graphene oxide for sensing biomolecules. Anal. Chem., 2012, 84 (14), pp 6220–6224.
5. The expanding field of DNAzyme research. Chem. Rev., 2013, 113 (8), pp 6651–6678.

Keywords

1. MicroRNA detection biosensor
2. Fluorescence nano-orbital technology
3. Sensitive miRNA analysis
4. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)
5. E-NOF biosensor developments

In the light of this significant advancement, the scientific and medical communities remain optimistic about the future of disease detection. The E-NOF biosensor exemplifies the relentless pursuit of innovation, heralding a new era in biochemical detection and analysis. As we push the boundaries of biotechnology, devices like the fluorescence nano-orbital biosensor bring us one step closer to a future where clinical diagnosis is quicker, more accurate, and highly individualized.

For more information:
College of Chemistry, Fuzhou University, 2 Xueyuan Road, Fuzhou, 350116, China.
Corresponding author – Chen Xian, email: xchen_fzu@126.com.

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