Nucleotide-Dependent Bioautocatalytic Timer Reaction

Ting Ru Chen, Ching Fong Hsu, Chih Lin Chen, Henryk Arnold Witek, Pawel L. Urban*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We describe a biochemical timer composed of three biocatalytic reactions involving three types of adenylate nucleotides: adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and adenosine monophosphate (AMP). The timer is triggered by a small amount of ATP or ADP. An abrupt increase in the ATP concentration (following numerous amplification cycles) leads to a sudden increase of luminescence from the reaction mixture. The time point when the luminescence appears is found to be a function of the initial concentration of the triggering nucleotide (5.0 × 10-8-1.0 × 10-6 M), even in the presence of a complex biological matrix. The mechanism of the observed dependence of the time of luminescence increase on the concentration has been confirmed with simple kinetic models. Due to the biocompatibility of the proposed trienzymatic reaction scheme (sensitivity to common nucleotides and occurrence in a neutral pH aqueous environment), the scheme can be used in bioengineered systems that require modulation of the response time (light emission) by concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-968
Number of pages7
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 16 Sep 2016


  • amplification
  • luminescence
  • nonlinear chemistry
  • nucleotide
  • time


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