Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Glypican-3 (GPC3) is a heparin sulfate proteoglycan linked to the cell membrane by a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol anchor (GPI) and is expressed by 75% of all hepatocellular carcinomas but undetectable in healthy liver tissue or liver with focal lesions. What’s more, GPC3 has been gradually applied in clinical applications as a specific indicator for the early detection and prognosis of HCC. As GPC3 can also regulate many pathways in HCC pathogenesis including Wnt, Hh and Yap signaling, it has been shown that GPC3 knockdown can inhibit HCC growth, reinforcing the important roles of GPC3 in HCC development. For HCC early detection, we designed a peptide targeting GPC3 that allows to establish a fluorescent dyes-labeled probe. Firstly, according to the structure of the GPC3 antibody GC33 and the positive peptide reported in the literature, we generated a peptide consisting of twelve amino acids named 12P that may bind to GPC3 with tight binding ability and specificity. In vitro testing, we utilized FCM and laser confocal microscopy to verify its specificity of targeting to the high expression cells of GPC3. What’s more, we linked 12P with a near infrared dye to verify its in vivo targeting ability. All results indicated that 12P possessed potent binding capacity which could be used as a targeting module in GPC3 detection probe.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in a wide range of biological processes, including proliferation, development, metabolism, immunological response, tumorigenesis, and viral infection. The detection of miRNAs is imperative for gaining a better understanding of the functions of these biomolecules and has great potential for the early diagnosis of human disease as well as the discovery of new drugs through the use of miRNAs as targets. In this article, we develop a highly sensitive, and specific miRNA assay based on the two-stage isothermal amplification reactions and molecular beacon. The two-stage isothermal amplification reactions involves two templates and two-stage amplification reactions under isothermal conditions. The first template enables the amplification of miRNA, and the second template enables the conversion of miRNA to the reporter oligonucleotide(Y). Importantly, different miRNAs can be converted to the same Y seperately, which can hybridize with the same set of molecular beacon to generate fluorescent signals. This assay is highly sensitive and specific with a detection limit of 1 fM and can even discriminate single-nucleotide differences. Moreover, in combination with the specific templates, this method can be applied for multiplex miRNA assay by simply using the same molecular beacon. This method has potential to become a promising miRNA quantification method in biomedical research and clinical diagnosis.