Theranostics 2013; 3(6):395-408. doi:10.7150/thno.5935


Molecular Beacons of Xeno-Nucleic Acid for Detecting Nucleic Acid

Qi Wang2, Lei Chen1, Yitao Long1, He Tian1, Junchen Wu1,

1. Key Lab for Advanced Materials and Institute of Fine Chemicals, East China University of Science and Technology, China.
2. College of Public Health, Nantong University, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Wang Q, Chen L, Long Y, Tian H, Wu J. Molecular Beacons of Xeno-Nucleic Acid for Detecting Nucleic Acid. Theranostics 2013; 3(6):395-408. doi:10.7150/thno.5935. Available from

File import instruction


Molecular beacons (MBs) of DNA and RNA have aroused increasing interest because they allow a continuous readout, excellent spatial and temporal resolution to observe in real time. This kind of dual-labeled oligonucleotide probes can differentiate between bound and unbound DNA/RNA in homogenous hybridization with a high signal-to-background ratio in living cells. This review briefly summarizes the different unnatural sugar backbones of oligonucleotides combined with fluorophores that have been employed to sense DNA/RNA. With different probes, we epitomize the fundamental understanding of driving forces and these recognition processes. Moreover, we will introduce a few novel and attractive emerging applications and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. We also highlight several perspective probes in the application of cancer therapeutics.

Keywords: Xeno-nucleic acid, Nucleic acid, Molecular beacon, Diagnostics.