DNA Methyltransferase Activity Assays: Advances and Challenges
An enzyme responsive nanoparticle system that uses a DNA-gold nanoparticle (AuNP) assembly as the substrate has been developed for the simple, sensitive, and universal monitoring of restriction endonucleases in real time. This new assay takes advantage of the palindromic recognition sequence of the restriction nucleases and the unique optical properties of AuNPs and is simpler than the procedure previously described by by Xu et al. (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2007, 46, 3468-3470). Because it involves only one type of ssDNA modified AuNPs, this assay can be directed toward most of the endonucleases by simply changing the recognition sequence found within the linker DNA. In addition, the endonuclease activity could be quantitatively analyzed by the value of the reciprocal of hydrolysis half time (t(1/2)(-1)). Furthermore, our new design could also be applied to the assay of methyltransferase activity since the methylation of DNA inhibits its cleavage by the corresponding restriction endonuclease, and thus, this new methodology can be easily adapted to high-throughput screening of methyltransferase inhibitors.