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Ligand-based stability changes in duplex DNA measured with a microscale electrochemical platform



Sarah M. Robinson, Zuliang Shen, Jon R. Askim, Christopher B. Montgomery, Herman O. Sintim, Stephen Semancik


Development of technologies for rapidly screening the thermal stability of DNA secondary structures and the effects on stability for binding of small molecule drugs is important to the drug discovery process. In this report, we describe the capabilities of an electrochemical, microdevice-based approach for determining the melting temperatures (Tm) of electrode-bound duplex DNA structures. We also highlight new features of the technology that are compatible with array development and adaptation for high-throughput screening. As a foundational study to exhibit device performance and capabilities, melting-curve analysis was performed on 12-mer DNA duplexes in the presence/absence of two binding ligands: diminazene aceturate (DMZ) and proflavine. Results show that our measurement platform has the ability to measure, from current vs. temperature traces, the effect of binding ligands on Tm values with high signal-to-noise ratios and good reproducibility. We also demonstrate that our 3-electrode cell can be heated by either an embedded microheater or with a thermoelectric module, producing similar results. The ΔTm values we report show the stabilizing ability of DMZ and proflavine when bound to DNA duplex structures. These initial proof-of-concept studies highlight the operating characteristics of the microdevice platform and the potential future application toward other immobilized samples.


DNA, microheater, microfabrication, melting profiles, rapid temperature control, ligand-based stabilization, Square Wave Voltammetry


Robinson, S. , Shen, Z. , Askim, J. , Montgomery, C. , Sintim, H. and Semancik, S. (2019), Ligand-based stability changes in duplex DNA measured with a microscale electrochemical platform, Biosensors, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created April 12, 2019, Updated April 19, 2020