RNA polymerization actuating nucleic acid membrane (RANAM)-based biosensing for universal RNA virus detection

Dajeong Kim, Sangwoo Han, Yoonbin Ji, Heejeong Youn, Hyejin Kim, Ohsung Ko, Jong Bum Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has shown the importance of early disease diagnosis in preventing further infection and mortality. Despite major advances in the development of highly precise and rapid detection approaches, the time-consuming process of designing a virus-specific diagnostic kit has been a limiting factor in the early management of the pandemic. Here, we propose an RNA polymerase activity-sensing strategy utilizing an RNA polymerization actuating nucleic acid membrane (RANAM) partially metallized with gold for colorimetric RNA virus detection. Following RANAM-templated amplification of newly synthesized RNA, the presence of the RNA polymerase was determined by visualization of the inhibition of an oxidation/reduction (redox) reaction between 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) and blocked Au3+. As a proof of concept, a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), which is found in various RNA virus-infected cells, was chosen as a target molecule. With this novel RANAM biosensor, as little as 10 min of RdRP incubation could significantly reduce the colorimetric signal. Further development into an easy-to-use prototype kit in viral infection diagnosis detected RdRP present at levels even as low as 100 aM. Color formation based on the presence of RdRP could be simply and clearly confirmed through smartphone-assisted color imaging of the prototype kit. This study provides a non-PCR-based RNA virus detection including its variants using RdRP-mediated polymerization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113880
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Nucleic acid membrane
  • Nucleic acid metallization
  • RNA virus detection
  • RNA-dependent RNA polymerase
  • SARS-CoV-2


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