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Biosens Bioelectron. 2014 Jan 15;51:36-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2013.07.036. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Hairpin DNA probe with 5'-TCC/CCC-3' overhangs for the creation of silver nanoclusters and miRNA assay.

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College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410083, PR China.


A facile strategy for the assay of target miRNA using fluorescent silver nanoclusters (AgNCs) has been described. Due to the preferable interaction between cytosine residues and Ag(+), a short cytosine-rich oligonucleotide (ODN) with only six bases 5'-TCCCCC-3' served as an efficient scaffold for the creation of the AgNCs. The AgNCs displayed a bright red emission when excited at 545nm. Such ODN base-stabilized AgNCs have been exploited for miRNA sensing. Overhangs of TCC at the 5' end (5'-TCC) and CCC at the 3' end (CCC-3') (denoted as 5'-TCC/CCC-3') appended to the hairpin ODN probe which also contains recognition sequences for target miRNA were included. Interestingly, the AgNCs/hairpin ODN probe showed similar spectral properties as that templated by 5'-TCCCCC-3'. The formation of the hairpin ODN probe/miRNA duplex separated the 5'-TCC/CCC-3' overhangs, thus disturbing the optical property or structure of the AgNCs. As a result, fluorescence quenching of the AgNCs/hairpin ODN probe was obtained, which allows for facile determination of target miRNA. The proposed method is simple and cost-effective, holding great promise for clinical applications.


Fluorescence quenching; Hairpin DNA probe; Silver nanoclusters; Target miRNA

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