The behavior of a bipedal DNA walker moving on the surface of magnet microparticles and its application in DNA detection

  • Ningxing Li
  • Mingyuan Du
  • Songbai Tian
  • Xinghu Ji
  • Zhike HeEmail author
Paper in Forefront
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. New Insights into Analytical Science in China


In this work, a three-dimensional DNA machine based on the isothermal strand-displacement polymerase reaction (ISDPR) has been constructed. The walking behavior of a DNA walker on the obstructive surface of magnetic beads has also been studied by adding different nucleic acid blocks. The “leg” of the DNA walker could hybridize with a hairpin structure DNA named H1 and lead to the opening of it. And the newly exposed stem would interact with a primer. A strand exchange has happened with the assistance of polymerase and dNTPs, so that the “leg” has been displaced and the DNA walker could be pushed to move on the surface. But the nucleic acid blocks could increase steric hindrance and obstruct this process, which is similar to the behavior of human beings walking on craggy paths. Through changing these blocks, such as the structure, the amount, and the length of blocks, the movement of the DNA walker has been controlled. What’s more, the results of its application for DNA detection are satisfactory. The limit of detection is 21.6 pM. Also, this method has been successfully applied in complex biological samples.

Graphical abstract


DNA walker Chemiluminescence Magnet microparticles DNA detection 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21675119) and National Major Science and Technology Projects (2018ZX10301405).

Compliance with ethical standards

Human serum from healthy volunteers was collected from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University with the approval of the Institutional Review Board. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2019_1604_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (668 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 667 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ningxing Li
    • 1
  • Mingyuan Du
    • 1
  • Songbai Tian
    • 1
  • Xinghu Ji
    • 1
  • Zhike He
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Biology and Medicine (Ministry of Education), College of Chemistry and Molecular SciencesWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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