Peeters et al. (2019) ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 11, 7, 6759–6768
DNA nanotechnology has a great potential in biosensor design including nanostructuring of the biosensor surface through DNA origami, target recognition by means of aptamers, and DNA-based signal amplification strategies. In this paper, we use DNA nanotechnology to describe for the first time the concept of real-time solid-phase monitoring of DNAzyme cleavage activity for the detection of specific single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) with a fiber optic surface plasmon resonance (FO-SPR) biosensor. Hereto, we first developed a robust ligation strategy for the functionalization of the FO-SPR biosensing surface with ssDNA-tethered gold nanoparticles, serving as the substrate for the DNAzyme. Next, we established a relation between the SPR signal change, due to the cleavage activity of the 10–23 DNAzyme, and the concentration of the DNAzyme, showing faster cleavage kinetics for higher DNAzyme concentrations. Finally, we implemented this generic concept for biosensing of ssDNA target in solution. Hereto, we designed a DNAzyme–inhibitor complex, consisting of an internal loop structure complementary to the ssDNA target, that releases active DNAzyme molecules in a controlled way as a function of the target concentration. We demonstrated reproducible target detection with a theoretical limit of detection of 1.4 nM, proving that the presented ligation strategy is key to a universal DNAzyme-based FO-SPR biosensing concept with promising applications in the medical and agrofood sector.