ACS Nano

Single Locked Nucleic Acid-Enhanced Nanopore Genetic Discrimination of Pathogenic Serotypes and Cancer Driver Mutations

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Accurate and rapid detection of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in pathogenic mutants is crucial for many fields such as food safety regulation and disease diagnostics. Current detection methods involve laborious sample preparations and expensive characterizations. Here, we investigated a single locked nucleic acid (LNA) approach, facilitated by a nanopore single-molecule sensor, to accurately determine SNPs for detection of Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serotype O157:H7, and cancer-derived EGFR L858R and KRAS G12D driver mutations. Current LNA applications that require incorporation and optimization of multiple LNA nucleotides. But we found that in the nanopore system, a single LNA introduced in the probe is sufficient to enhance the SNP discrimination capability by over 10-fold, allowing accurate detection of the pathogenic mutant DNA mixed in a large amount of the wild-type DNA. Importantly, the molecular mechanistic study suggests that such a significant improvement is due to the effect of the single-LNA that both stabilizes the fully matched base-pair and destabilizes the mismatched base-pair. This sensitive method, with a simplified, low cost, easy-to-operate LNA design, could be generalized for various applications that need rapid and accurate identification of single-nucleotide variations.