A Self-Assembled DNA Tweezer Nanomachine - New Approach for the Diagnosis of Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA3)

The situation of SCA was described by Professor Edwin Chan during interviews. The difficulties encountered by patients from different stages of SCA were shared in a workshop with Hong Kong Spinocerebellar Ataxia Association. The SCA3 relates to either up or down regulation of four miRNAs biomarkers. A new approach for the diagnosis of SCA3 will be developed under this study. Under the mentorship of the University of Hong Kong, a DNA tweezer nanomachine is employed to detect target SCA3 biomarkers. When the desired miRNA hybridized to the recognition site on the tweezers, the nanomachine is turned from an open state to a closed state, which allows the assembly of the split strand G-quadruplex. The G-quadruplex acts as an aptamer and binds to hemin. The hemin-mediated peroxidase activity produces a color change as a signal. This alternative diagnostic method would have further implication on monitoring the onset and progress of SCA3.