Folding- and Dynamics-Based Electrochemical DNA Sensors

Rebecca Y. Lai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


A number of electrochemical DNA sensors based on the target-induced change in the conformation and/or flexibility of surface-bound oligonucleotides have been developed in recent years. These sensors, which are often termed E-DNA sensors, are comprised of an oligonucleotide probe modified with a redox label (e.g., methylene blue) at one terminus and attached to a gold electrode via a thiol–gold bond at the other. Binding of the target to the DNA probe changes its structure and dynamics, which, in turn, influences the efficiency of electron transfer to the interrogating electrode. Since electrochemically active contaminants are less common, these sensors are resistant to false-positive signals arising from the nonspecific adsorption of contaminants and perform well even when employed directly in serum, whole blood, and other realistically complex sample matrices. Moreover, because all of the sensor components are chemisorbed to the electrode, the E-DNA sensors are essentially label-free and readily reusable. To date, these sensors have achieved state-of-the-art sensitivity, while offering the unprecedented selectivity, reusability, and the operational convenience of direct electrochemical detection. This chapter reviews the recent advances in the development of both “signal-off” and “signal-on” E-DNA sensors. Critical aspects that dictate the stability and performance of these sensors are also addressed so as to provide a realistic overview of this oligonucleotide detection platform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Enzymology
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages32
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988


  • Alternating current voltammetry
  • Blood serum
  • Differential pulse voltammetry
  • Electrochemical DNA sensors
  • Methylene blue
  • Nanoelectrode
  • Screen-printed carbon electrode
  • Self-assembled monolayer
  • Sharpless “click” chemistry
  • Single-base mismatch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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