Microchimica Acta

, 186:96 | Cite as

Electrochemical determination of the activity and inhibition of telomerase based on the interaction of DNA with molybdate

  • Guanwu Wang
  • Hao Wang
  • Shuang Cao
  • Wen Xiang
  • Ting LiEmail author
  • Minghui YangEmail author
Original Paper


An ultrasensitive electrochemical sensor is described for the determination of the activity of telomerase. It is based on a DNA-generated current that is due to the reaction of the phosphate groups on DNA with molybdate to form a redox-active molybdophosphate. A telomerase substrate primer was first immobilized on a gold electrode. In the presence of telomerase and deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs), the primer can be extended with repetitive nucleotide sequences (TTAGGG). The subsequent reaction of the sensor with molybdate results in the enhancement of electrochemical current intensity due to an increased amount of nucleotides on the electrode. Sensitivity can be further improved by introducing a hairpin probe that partially hybridizes with the repetitive TTAGGG sequence and further enhances the amount of DNA on the electrode. The biosensor, best operated at 0.2 V (vs. Ag/AgCl) shows a linear response to telomerase activity from 1×102 to 107 Hela cells mL−1. The assay was applied to the detection of telomerase activity in HeLa cancer cells treated with the anticancer drug epigallocatechin gallate, and the results indicate that it holds great potential in anticancer drug screening.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of an ultrasensitive electrochemical sensor for the determination of telomerase activity based on DNA generated electrochemical current. dNTPs in the scheme represents deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates.


Electrochemistry Telomerase Anticancer drug Inhibition DNA amplification 



The authors thank the support of this work by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.21575165).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_3223_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 57 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Surgery, The Second Xiang-ya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Hunan Province for Water Environment and Agriculture Product Safety, College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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