Microchimica Acta

, 185:306 | Cite as

Three-way DNA junction based platform for ultra-sensitive fluorometric detection of multiple metal ions as exemplified for Cu(II), Mg(II) and Pb(II)

  • Wen Yun
  • Xiaoqing Du
  • Junsheng Liao
  • Ge Sang
  • Lin Chen
  • Ning Li
  • Lizhu Yang
Original Paper


A DNA-based fluorometric method is described for simultaneous determination of multiple metal ions. It is based on recycling cleavage of hairpins by using a three-way DNA junction structure. Three DNA sequences containing a binding region and an enzyme-strand (E-DNA) region are hybridized to form a three-way DNA junction. The enzyme strand regions at the end of the DNA sequence binds to the substrate sequence (S-DNA) at the loop of the hairpin to form typical DNAzyme structures. In the presence of analyte metal ions, the DNAzyme structure thus formed cleaves the loop of hairpins. This is accompanied by a release of fluorescently labeled DNA fragments and by quenching of fluorescence. The detection limits are 35 pM for Cu(II), 2 nM for Mg(II), and 8 pM for Pb(II). This method was successfully applied to the simultaneous determination of these ions in spiked human serum.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the recycling cleavage of hairpins by using a three-way DNA junction structure. It causes a release of fluorescently labeled DNA fragments and quenching of fluorescence. It was successfully applied to the simultaneous determination of Cu(II), Mg(II) and Pb(II) in spiked human serum.


Recycling cleavage Graphene oxide DNAzyme Amplification Fluorescence Hairpin 



This work is sponsored by Chongqing Key Laboratory of Catalysis and New Environmental Materials (Grant No. KFJJ2017033).

Compliance with ethical standards

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

Supplementary material

604_2018_2836_MOESM1_ESM.docx (273 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 272 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.Institute of Materials, China Academy of Engineering PhysicsMianyangChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Friendly Energy Materials & School of Material Science and EngineeringSouthwest University of Science and TechnologyMianyangChina
  4. 4.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesWenzhou Medical UniversityZhejiangChina

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