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Chemistry. 2011 Sep 26;17(40):11344-9. doi: 10.1002/chem.201100563. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Visual scanometric detection of DNA through silver enhancement regulated by gold-nanoparticle aggregation with a molecular beacon as the trigger.

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State Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, P.R. China.


A convenient and label-free scanometric approach for DNA assay was designed by integrating a metal-ion-mediated conformational molecular beacon (MB) and silver-signal amplification regulated by gold-nanoparticle (AuNP) aggregation. The strategy was based on displacing the interaction between the target DNA sequence and a competitor Hg(2+) ion with a link DNA sequence. In the absence of the target DNA sequence, a link DNA sequence interacted with the Hg(2+) ions, thus forming an inactive cyclic conformation of the MB. This result led to the poor aggregation of polyadenosine-functionalized AuNPs (A-AuNP). In the presence of a target DNA sequence with a stronger affinity than that of the competitor, hybridization between the link DNA and target DNA sequences turned on the trigger. The polythymidine end of the resulting linear duplex structure could react with A-AuNP, thus leading to a cross-linking aggregation. This aggregation weakened AuNP-catalyzed silver enhancement on a spot substrate. Further, by using scanometric detection, the concentration of the target DNA sequence could be conveniently read out within a linear range from 1.0 to 30 nM. Interestingly, in the same amount of Hg(2+) ions, one-base mismatched DNA showed only 22% of the relative gray-scale intensity for the target DNA sequence at the same concentration, thus indicating good specificity. The designed approach, with the help of the ion-mediated conformational MB, was simple, cost effective, adaptable, and convenient and provided significant potential applications in clinical analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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