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Methods. 2013 Dec 15;64(3):305-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Label-free fluorescent DNA biosensors based on metallointercalators and nanomaterials.

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Department of Chemistry, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, PR China. Electronic address:


DNA based biosensors have become increasingly important in medical diagnostics, genetic and drug screening, and forensics in this post-genomic era. Chemical labeling methods suffer from several drawbacks, which are tedious, cost-expensive and time-consuming, thus the development of simple and general label free strategies is being demanded. The present article introduces a new model of biosensor device based on both metallointercalators and nanomaterials, with the aim of highlighting, in particular, the use of the "label-free" strategy for the construction of simple and inexpensive sensing platforms. In this work, two strategies were developed for designing "label-free" sensors: (1) metallointercalators act as the quencher to nanomaterials; (2) nanomaterials act as the quencher to metallointercalators. These methods take advantage of the sensitive luminescence signal change of metallointercalators or nanomaterials upon analytes binding. By monitoring the luminescence change, we were able to detect metal ions and biomolecules. Compared to other label-free fluorescent methods, these "label-free" DNA biosensors provide fast, simple, economical, sensitive and selective detection of target analytes with specific probes.


Biosensors; Fluorescence; Label-free; Metallointercalators; Nanomaterials

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