Microchimica Acta

, 185:457 | Cite as

A catalytic cleavage strategy for fluorometric determination of Hg(II) based on the use of a Mg(II)-dependent split DNAzyme and hairpins conjugated to gold nanoparticles

  • Wen YunEmail author
  • Fukun Li
  • Xingyan Liu
  • Ning Li
  • Lin ChenEmail author
  • Lizhu YangEmail author
Original Paper


A catalytic cleavage strategy was developed for the fluorometric determination of Hg(II). The method is based on the use of a Mg(II)-dependent split DNAzyme. Fluorophore labeled hairpins were conjugated to gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) upon which fluorescence is quenched. Thymine-Hg(II)-thymine (T-Hg(II)-T) interaction causes the two DNA sequences to form an entire enzyme-strand DNA (E-DNA). The E-DNA bind to the hairpins on the AuNPs to form a Mg(II)-dependent DNAzyme structure. The circular cleavage of hairpins results in a signal amplification and in the recovery of fluorescence. The assay has a limit of detection (LOD) as low as 80 pM of Hg(II). This LOD is comparable to those obtained with other amplification strategies. The method was successfully applied to the determination of Hg(II) in Chinese herbs (Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz).

Graphical abstract

Schematic of a catalytic cleavage strategy based on Mg(II)-dependent split DNAzyme for fluorometric determination of Hg(II).


AuNPs Split DNAzyme Amplification Enzyme-free detection T-Hg(II)-T 



This work is sponsored by Chongqing Key Laboratory of Catalysis and New Environmental Materials (Grant No. KFJJ2017033), Open Research Fund (CQCM-2016-05), the Opening Project of Zhejiang Provincial Top Key Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Grant No.201712), the Science and Technology Research Program of Chongqing Municipal Education Commission (Grant No. KJ1706156), the Project of Wenzhou Science &Technology Bureau (W20170006), the Open Project of State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base for Nonmetal Composites and Functional Materials (Grant No. 17kffk06), the Startup Foundation of Chongqing Technology and Business University (Grant No.1756001), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 21601164; 31300819).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_2990_MOESM1_ESM.doc (798 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 797 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chongqing Key Laboratory of Catalysis and New Environmental Materials, College of Environment and ResourcesChongqing Technology and Business UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environment-Friendly Energy MaterialSouthwest University of Science and TechnologyMianyangChina
  3. 3.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesWenzhou Medical UniversityZhejiangChina

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