G-quadruplexes are made up of guanine-rich RNA and DNA sequences capable of forming noncanonical nucleic acid secondary structures. The base-specific sterical configuration of G-quadruplexes allows the stacked G-tetrads to bind certain planar molecules like hemin (iron (III)-protoporphyrin IX) to regulate enzymatic-like functions such as peroxidase-mimicking activity, hence the use of the term DNAzyme/RNAzyme. This ability has been widely touted as a suitable substitute to conventional enzymatic reporter systems in diagnostics. This review will provide a brief overview of the G-quadruplex architecture as well as the many forms of reporter systems ranging from absorbance to luminescence readouts in various platforms. Furthermore, some challenges and improvements that have been introduced to improve the application of G-quadruplex in diagnostics will be highlighted. As the field of diagnostics has evolved to apply different detection systems, the need for alternative reporter systems such as G-quadruplexes is also paramount.
Immunoassays are often coupled to peroxidase activity for antigen detection. Sensitivity and speed of detection has been increased by the advent of hybrid methods such as immuno-PCR (polymerase chain reaction). However, a more simplified immunoassay that retains both colorimetric peroxidase detection and effective DNA amplification in a setting closer to field application conditions has been nonexistent. Here we describe a method that successfully combines a competitive immunoassay with the new isothermal quadruplex-primed amplification (QPA) to generate excess quadruplex reporter molecules with intrinsic peroxidase DNAzyme activity.