Luminescent and colorimetric strategies for the label-free DNA-based detection of enzyme activity

Chung Hang Leung, Hai Jing Zhong, Lihua Lu, Daniel Shiu Hin Chan, Edmond Dik Lung MA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Enzymes are critically involved in maintaining normal cellular physiology through the catalysis of highly specific and tightly regulated chemical reactions. The inhibition or undesired activation of particular enzymatic functions has been associated with the pathogenesis of a number of diseases. Consequently, the aberrant activity of certain enzymes can be regarded as biomarkers for the diagnosis or monitoring of particular diseases. With rapid technological advances in the field of DNA nanotechnology, oligonucleotides have recently emerged as attractive recognition units for monitoring the activity of enzymes compared with organic small molecules or protein antibodies. In this review article, we present an overview of advantages and versatility of the 'label-free' approach for the fabrication of DNA-based sensing platforms using colorimetric and luminescent molecules as signal transducing units and highlight recent examples of label-free strategies that have been employed for monitoring enzyme activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-535
Number of pages11
JournalBriefings in Functional Genomics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

User-Defined Keywords

  • Colorimetric
  • Detection
  • Enzyme activity
  • Label-free
  • Luminescent


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