Molecular beacon strategies for sensing purpose

Negar Bidar, Mohammad Amini, Fatemeh Oroojalian, Behzad Baradaran, Seyed Samad Hosseini, Mohammad Ali Shahbazi, Mahmoud Hashemzaei, Ahad Mokhtarzadeh, Michael R. Hamblin, Miguel de la Guardia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The improvement of nucleic acid probes as vital molecular engineering devices will cause a noteworthy contribution to developments in bioimaging, biosensing, and disorders diagnosis. The molecular beacon (MB) which was designed by Tyagi and Kramer in 1996, are loop-stem hairpin-designed oligonucleotides armed with a quencher and a dye (also named reporter groups) at the 3′ or 5′ ends. This construction allows that MBs in the absence of their target complementary molecules do not fluoresce. Through hybridization with their specific targets a spontaneous configuration change on MBs occur and the dye and quencher separate from each other, resulting in emitting the fluorescence. MBs are effective probes for biosensing because of their extraordinary target-specificity, unique structure, inherent fluorescent signal transduction mechanism, low background fluorescence emission, recognition without separation, and favorable thermodynamic properties. In comparison to other probes (such as linear DNA sequences), MBs with the same number of complementary nucleotides matching their target, are multitasking probes. They have advantages of thermodynamic and photostability, flexible ability for conjugation, higher efficient intrinsic signal switching, and ultra-sensitivity. MBs not only are useful for identifying a nucleic acid target but can also be employed for recognition of various non-nucleic acid goals, including heavy metals and cations, enzymes, cells, ATP, etc. Hence, this review highlights the potential of MBs in the improvement of biosensors and their usage in detection of different analytes such as miRNA, mRNA, cocaine, methamphetamine, actin, thrombin, heavy metal and cations and so on.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116143
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • 2′-O-methylated MBs
  • Aptamer MBs
  • Biosensor
  • Catalytic MB
  • Locked nucleic acids
  • Molecular beacon
  • Nucleic acid probe
  • Peptide nucleic acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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