A DNA based visual and colorimetric aggregation assay for the early growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation by using unmodified gold nanoparticles


A genomic DNA-based colorimetric assay is described for the detection of the early growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation, which is the protruding reason for non-small cell lung cancer. A DNA sequence was designed and immobilized on unmodified gold nanoparticles (GNPs). The formation of the respective duplex indicates the presence of an EGFR mutation. It is accompanied by the aggregation of the GNPs in the presence of monovalent ions, and it indicates the presence of an EGFR mutation. This is accompanied by a color change from red (520 nm) to purple (620 nm). Aggregation was evidenced by transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The limit of detection is 313 nM of the mutant target strand. A similar peak shift was observed for 2.5 μM concentrations of wild type target. No significant peak shift was observed with probe and non-complementary DNA.

Schematic representation of high-specific genomic DNA sequence on gold nanoparticle (GNP) aggregation with sodium chloride (NaCl). It illustrates the detection method for EGFR mutation on lung cancer detection. Red and purple colors of tubes represent dispersed and aggregated GNP, respectively.

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This study was supported by Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Packaging under Long Term Research Grant Scheme from Ministry of Education (MOE).

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Correspondence to Subash C. B. Gopinath.

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Ramanathan, S., Gopinath, S.C.B., Arshad, M.K.M. et al. A DNA based visual and colorimetric aggregation assay for the early growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation by using unmodified gold nanoparticles. Microchim Acta 186, 546 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-019-3696-y

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  • Controlled assembly and disassembly
  • Colorimetric detection
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Bare eye detection
  • Red and blue shifts