Application of exonuclease III-aided target recycling in flow cytometry: DNA detection sensitivity enhanced by orders of magnitude

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Journal Article
Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85 (17), pp. 8240 - 8245
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DNA-functionalized microspheres in conjugation with flow cytometry detection are widely used for high-throughput nucleic acid assays. Although such assays are rapid and capable of simultaneous analysis of multiple nucleic acid analytes in a single test, the intrinsic limitation in sensitivity remains challenging. Here we report a simple, highly sensitive, and reproducible method based on Exonuclease III-aided target recycling technique applied for DNA quantification in flow cytometry. By loading a high density of Cy5-labeled probe DNA on microspheres (15 μm), we achieved hitherto unreported DNA detection limit of 3.2 pM in flow cytometry bead assay, enhancing the sensitivity by a factor of over 56.8 compared to the conventional direct hybridization bead assay. Furthermore, we evaluated multiplexing capability by simultaneous detections of two target DNAs with FAM and Cy5 reporter conjugated probes. Therefore, the novel Exonuclease III-amplified flow cytometry bead assay has great potential for the rapid, sensitive, and accurate detection and quantification of nucleic acids in clinical diagnosis and biomedical research. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
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