A pH-driven DNA nanomachine based on the human α-thrombin binding aptamer was designed for the specific catch-and-release of human α-thrombin at neutral and acidic pH, respectively. In neutral conditions, the thrombin aptamer component of the nanomachine is exposed and exists in the G-quadruplex conformation required to bind to the target protein. At slightly acidic pH, the polyadenine tail of the nanomachine becomes partially protonated and A+(anti)•G(syn) mispairing results in a conformational change, causing the target protein to be released. Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) was used to monitor conformational switching over multiple pH cycles. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and fluorescence anisotropy were used to show pH dependent protein binding and release by the nanomachine. This approach could be applied generally to existing G-rich aptamers to develop novel biosensors, theranostics, and nanoswitches.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.6b00124
Journal Bioconjugate Chemistry
McConnell, E.M., Bolzon, R., Mezin, P., Frahm, G., Johnston, M., & DeRosa, M.C. (2016). PHAST (pH-Driven Aptamer Switch for Thrombin) Catch-and-Release of Target Protein. Bioconjugate Chemistry, 27(6), 1493–1499. doi:10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.6b00124