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    Electrochemical DNA Biosensor Based on a Tetrahedral Nanostructure Probe for the Detection of Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus

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    A DNA tetrahedral nanostructure-based electrochemical biosensor was developed to detect avian influenza A (H7N9) virus through recognizing a fragment of the hemagglutinin gene sequence. The DNA tetrahedral probe was immobilized onto a gold electrode surface based on self-assembly between three thiolated nucleotide sequences and a longer nucleotide sequence containing complementary DNA to hybridize with the target single-stranded (ss)­DNA. The captured target sequence was hybridized with a biotinylated-ssDNA oligonucleotide as a detection probe, and then avidin-horseradish peroxidase was introduced to produce an amperometric signal through the interaction with 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine substrate. The target ssDNA was obtained by asymmetric polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the cDNA template, reversely transcribed from the viral lysate of influenza A (H7N9) virus in throat swabs. The results showed that this electrochemical biosensor could specifically recognize the target DNA fragment of influenza A (H7N9) virus from other types of influenza viruses, such as influenza A (H1N1) and (H3N2) viruses, and even from single-base mismatches of oligonucleotides. Its detection limit could reach a magnitude of 100 fM for target nucleotide sequences. Moreover, the cycle number of the asymmetric PCR could be reduced below three with the electrochemical biosensor still distinguishing the target sequence from the negative control. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the detection of target DNA from clinical samples using a tetrahedral DNA probe functionalized electrochemical biosensor. It displays that the DNA tetrahedra has a great potential application as a probe of the electrochemical biosensor to detect avian influenza A (H7N9) virus and other pathogens at the gene level, which will potentially aid the prevention and control of the disease caused by such pathogens