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Signal Amplification by Allosteric Catalysis



In this article we unify a series of recent studies on bio- and chemosensors under a single signaling strategy: signal amplification by allosteric catalysis (SAAC). The SAAC strategy mimics biological signal transduction processes, where molecular recognition between an external signal and a protein receptor is allosterically transduced into catalytically amplified chemical information (usually second messengers). Several recent biosensing and chemosensing studies apply this nature-inspired strategy by using engineered allosteric enzymes, ribozymes, or regulatable organic catalysts. The factors pertinent to achieving high sensitivity and specificity in SAAC strategies are analyzed. The authors believe that these early studies from a variety of research groups have opened up a new venue for the development of sensing technologies where molecular recognition and catalysis can be coupled for practical purposes.