Posted: 2021-10-05 19:00:00
Chemical reactions of single molecules, caused by rapid formation or breaking of chemical bonds, are difficult to observe even with state-of-the-art instruments. A biological nanopore can be engineered into a single molecule reactor, capable of detecting the binding of a monatomic ion or the transient appearance of chemical intermediates. Pore engineering of this type is however technically challenging, which has significantly restricted further development of this technique. We propose a versatile strategy, "programmable nano-reactors for stochastic sensing" (PNRSS), by which a variety of single molecule reactions of hydrogen peroxide, metal ions, ethylene glycol, glycerol, lactic acid, vitamins, catecholamines or nucleoside analogues can be observed directly. PNRSS presents a refined sensing resolution which can be further enhanced by an artificial intelligence algorithm. Remdesivir, a nucleoside analogue and an investigational anti-viral drug used to treat COVID-19, can be distinguished from its active triphosphate form by PNRSS, suggesting applications in pharmacokinetics or drug screening.
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