Novel Fluorescent Sensors for Simple, Sensitive, and Specific Protein Detection
These fluorescent molecules based on the widely used green fluorescent protein are composed of RNA, and bind and then switch on the fluorescent of specific small molecules. Shown is an example of a solution of the RNA in (a), the small molecule in (b), and a mixture of the RNA and small molecule in (c). When the RNA and small molecule are mixed, the complex becomes intensely fluorescent. Using these RNA-small molecule complexes as a starting point, novel RNAs can be developed that become fluorescent only in the presence of specific proteins. These RNAs can be used to design simple, reagentless protein detection assays and arrays to detect cancer biomarkers, and to develop novel genetically encoded indicators of protein expression levels in cells.
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