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A selective and label-free strategy for rapid screening of telomere-binding Ligands via fluorescence regulation of DNA/silver nanocluster.


Herein, the conformational switch of G-rich oligonucleotide (GDNA) demonstrated the obvious functional switch of GDNA which was found to significantly affect the fluorescence of the in-situ synthesized DNA/silver nanocluster (DNA-AgNC) in homogeneous solution. We envisioned that the allosteric interaction between GDNA and DNA-AgNC would be possible to be used for screening telomere-binding ligands. A unimolecular probe (12C5TG) is ingeniously designed consisting of three contiguous DNA elements: G-rich telomeric DNA (GDNA) as molecular recognition sequence, T-rich DNA as linker and C-rich DNA as template of DNA-AgNC. The quantum yield and stability of 12C5TG-AgNC is greatly improved because the nearby deoxyguanosines tended to protect DNA/AgNC against oxidation. However, in the presence of ligands, the formation of G-quadruplex obviously quenched the fluorescence of DNA-AgNC. By taking full advantage of intramolecular allosteric effect, telomere-binding ligands were selectively and label-free screened by using deoxyguanines and G-quadruplex as natural fluorescence enhancer and quencher of DNA-AgNC respectively. Therefore, the functional switching of G-rich structure offers a cost-effective, facile and reliable way to screen drugs, which holds a great potential in bioanalysis as well.