Colorimetric determination of DNA using an aptamer and plasmonic nanoplatform


A facile plasmonic nanoplatform was developed for rapid and sensitive determination of nucleic acid. Hg2+-regulated molecular beacon (MB, hairpin) containing rich thymine (T) bases at both ends is used as the probe. A hairpin structure can be formed in the MB probe due to the strong binding of Hg2+ to T. However, in the presence of target DNA, the hairpin structure is opened owing to target DNA-specific hybridization with the aptamer. Simultaneously, the opened MB interacts with poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA) and hinders PDDA-induced aggregation of AuNPs, accompanied by a color change from blue to red and a decrease in absorption ratio (A620/A520). Hence, a good linear relationship was observed between the decreased absorption ratio (A620/A520) and DNA concentration ranging from 0.02 to 2 nmol/L with a low detection limit of 4.42 pmol/L. Moreover, this nanoplatform has been successfully utilized to discriminate between perfect target and mismatch sequences. More importantly, the bioassay is simple, versatile, rapid, and cost-effective compared with other common methods, which holds great promise for clinical diagnosis and biomedical application.

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This work was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No. 21407035), Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation (ZR2014BM021), Technology and Development Program of Weihai (2014DXGJ15), and HIT-NSRIF (2011101).

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Correspondence to Fuming Sang.

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Sang, F., Yin, S., Pan, J. et al. Colorimetric determination of DNA using an aptamer and plasmonic nanoplatform. Microchim Acta 187, 393 (2020).

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  • Colorimetry
  • Nucleic acid
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Plasmonic nanoplatform