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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Oct 27;33(19):e168.

A colorimetric method for point mutation detection using high-fidelity DNA ligase.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory for Chemo/Biosensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan University, Changsha 410082, PR China.


The present study reported proof-of-principle for a genotyping assay approach that can detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) through the gold nanoparticle assembly and the ligase reaction. By incorporating the high-fidelity DNA ligase (Tth DNA ligase) into the allele-specific ligation-based gold nanoparticle assembly, this assay provided a convenient yet powerful colorimetric detection that enabled a straightforward single-base discrimination without the need of precise temperature control. Additionally, the ligase reaction can be performed at a relatively high temperature, which offers the benefit for mitigating the non-specific assembly of gold nanoparticles induced by interfering DNA strands. The assay could be implemented via three steps: a hybridization reaction that allowed two gold nanoparticle-tagged probes to hybrid with the target DNA strand, a ligase reaction that generates the ligation between perfectly matched probes while no ligation occurred between mismatched ones and a thermal treatment at a relatively high temperature that discriminate the ligation of probes. When the reaction mixture was heated to denature the formed duplex, the purple color of the perfect-match solution would not revert to red, while the mismatch gave a red color as the assembled gold nanoparticles disparted. The present approach has been demonstrated with the identification of a single-base mutation in codon 12 of a K-ras oncogene that is of significant value for colorectal cancers diagnosis, and the wild-type and mutant type were successfully scored. To our knowledge, this was the first report concerning SNP detection based on the ligase reaction and the gold nanoparticle assembly. Owing to its ease of operation and high specificity, it was expected that the proposed procedure might hold great promise in practical clinical diagnosis of gene-mutant diseases.

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