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Analyst. 2016 Oct 21;141(20):5784-5791. Epub 2016 Aug 3.

A sandwich-like strategy for the label-free detection of oligonucleotides by surface plasmon fluorescence spectroscopy (SPFS).

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Nöll Junior Research Group, Organic Chemistry, Chem. Biol. Dept., Faculty IV, Siegen University, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57068 Siegen, Germany.


For the detection of oligonucleotides a sandwich-like detection strategy has been developed by which the background fluorescence is significantly lowered in comparison with surface-bound molecular beacons. Surface bound optical molecular beacons are DNA hairpin structures comprising a stem and a loop. The end of the stem is modified with a fluorophore and a thiol anchor for chemisorption on gold surfaces. In the closed state the fluorophore is in close proximity to the gold surface, and most of the fluorescence is quenched. After hybridization with a target the hairpin opens, the fluorophore and surface become separated, and the fluorescence drastically increases. Using this detection method the sensitivity is limited by the difference in the fluorescence intensity in the closed and open state. As the background fluorescence is mainly caused by non-quenched fluorophores, a strategy to reduce the background fluorescence is to cut the beacon in two halves. First a thiolated ssDNA capture probe strand (first half) is chemisorbed to a gold surface together with relatively short thiol spacers. Next the target is hybridized by one end to the surface-anchored capture probe and by the other to a fluorophore-labeled reporter probe DNA (second half). The signal readout is done by surface plasmon fluorescence spectroscopy (SPFS). Using this detection strategy the background fluorescence can be significantly lowered, and the detection limit is lowered by more than one order of magnitude. The detection of a target takes only a few minutes and the sensor chips can be used for multiple detection steps without a significant decrease in performance.

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