Intracellular pH Sensor using Nucleic Acid Assemblies

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The Novel Technology:

This technology involves the construction of a DNA nanomachine triggered by protons, called the I- switch, that functions as a Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) based pH sensor inside living cells. It is an efficient reporter of pH from 5.5 to 7.
  • To use as a high performance reporter of spatio-temporal pH changes associated with viral infections, phagocytosis, chemotaxis, apoptosis and defective acidification in tumor cells
  • To track synaptic vesicles and endocytic traffic in cells and living organisms
  • To target the sensor to particular cell types, sites within a cell or organelles by attaching nucleic acid or protein tags to the sensor
  • To study crosstalk in complex intracellular sorting or trafficking events
  • Non-toxic byproducts (water & salt) of a complete cycle for the DNA sensor
  • Since it is a FRET based, it is equally bright at both physiological and acidic pH, photostable and offers the advantages of a ratiometric probe
  • Simultaneous follow of multiple proteins with each protein bearing a sensor with a distinct FRET pair
  • Enables favourable comparison with other molecular scaffolds used to measure pH 5-7 inside living cells
Business Model:
The technology is at an early stage of development with the sensor having been validated in vitro. Looking for potential licensee (s) for taking the technology to next stage of development. 
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Yamuna Krishnan, NCBS
Invention ID: CMP-018
IP Status: Patent Pending
Jurisdictions: United States (US)
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