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Analyst. 2013 May 7;138(9):2755-60. doi: 10.1039/c3an00122a.

New probe design strategy by cooperation of metal/DNA-ligation and supermolecule inclusion interaction: application to detection of mercury ions(II).

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


In this paper, the development is described of an efficient pyrene excimer signaling-based fluorescent sensor for the measurement of mercury ions in aqueous solutions based on thymine-Hg(2+)-thymine (T-Hg(2+)-T) coordination chemistry and the inclusion interaction of γ-cyclodextrin. Introduction of cyclodextrin can provide cooperation for the molecular level space proximity of the two labeled pyrene molecules, moreover the hydrophobic cavity of γ-cyclodextrin can also offer protection for the pyrene dimer's emission from the quenching effect of Hg(2+) and enhance the fluorescence intensity of the pyrene excimer. To demonstrate the feasibility of the design, a bis-pyrene-labeled thymine-rich DNA strand was used as the detection probe. In the presence of Hg(2+), stem-close-shaped DNA strands can be formed with the cooperation of γ-cyclodextrin and ideally predominantly emit the excimer fluorescence. The selectivity of the sensor for Hg(2+) against other biologically and environmentally related metal ions is outstanding due to the high specificity of T-Hg(2+)-T formation. In addition, the pyrene excimer has a long fluorescence lifetime, which can tolerate intense background fluorescence interference from complex biological components, making it potentially applicable in the analysis of complex biological samples.

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