The determination of peroxidase activities is the basis for enzyme-labeled bioaffinity assays, peroxidase-mimicking DNAzymes- and nanoparticles-based assays, and characterization of the catalytic functions of peroxidase mimetics. Here, a facile, sensitive, and cost-effective solvent polymeric membrane-based peroxidase detection platform is described that utilizes reaction intermediates with different pKa values from those of substrates and final products. Several key but long-debated intermediates in the peroxidative oxidation of o-phenylenediamine (o-PD) have been identified and their charge states have been estimated. By using a solvent polymeric membrane functionalized by an appropriate substituted tetraphenylborate as a receptor, those cationic intermediates could be transferred into the membrane from the aqueous phase to induce a large cationic potential response. Thus, the potentiometric indication of the o-PD oxidation catalyzed by peroxidase or its mimetics can be fulfilled. Horseradish peroxidase has been detected with a detection limit at least two orders of magnitude lower than those obtained by spectrophotometric techniques and traditional membrane-based methods. As an example of peroxidase mimetics, G-quadruplex DNAzymes were probed by the intermediate-sensitive membrane and a label-free thrombin detection protocol was developed based on the catalytic activity of the thrombin-binding G-quadruplex aptamer.
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