Evaluation of miR-155 silencing using a molecular beacon in human lung adenocarcinoma cell line

Daniela Alexandre, Alexandra R. Fernandes, Pedro V. Baptista, Carla Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Lung cancer (LC) is a leading cause of global cancer-related deaths, highlighting the development of innovative methods for biomarker detection improving the early diagnostics. microRNAs (miRs) alterations are known to be involved in the initiation and progression of human cancers and can act as biomarkers for diagnostics and treatment. Herein, we develop the application of molecular beacon (MB) technology to monitor miR-155-3p expression in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells without complementary DNA synthesis, amplification, or expensive reagents. Furthermore, we produced gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for delivering antisense oligonucleotides into A549 cells to reduce miR-155-3p expression, which was subsequently detectable using the MB. The MB was designed and structural characterized by Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET)-melting, Circular Dichroism (CD), Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and fluorometric experiments, and then the hybridization conditions were optimized for an in vitro approach involving the detection of miR-155-3p in total RNA extracted from A549 cell line. The expression profile of miR-155-3p was obtained by RT-qPCR. The results demonstrated that MB was properly designed and showed efficacy in targeting miR-155-3p. Furthermore, a limit of detection down to nanomolar concentration was achieved and the specificity of the biosensor was proved. Moreover, the self-assembly of ASOs with AuNPs exhibited exceptional target specificity, effectively silencing miR-155-3p. Notably, compared to lipid-based transfection agent, AuNPs displayed superior silencing efficiency. We highlighted the ability of MB to detect changes in the target gene expression after gene silencing. Overall, this innovative approach represents a promising tool for detecting various biomarkers at the same time, with potential applications in clinical settings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126052
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2024


  • A549 cells
  • Gene silencing
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • miR-155-3p
  • Molecular beacon


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