Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 12, pp 3481–3488 | Cite as

Hairpin-based DNA electrochemical sensor for selective detection of a repetitive and structured target codifying a gliadin fragment

  • Begoña Martín-Fernández
  • Noemí de-los-Santos-Álvarez
  • María Jesús Lobo-Castañón
  • Beatriz López-RuizEmail author
Research Paper


High selectivity of genosensors is crucial for certain applications such as those involving species with high genetic variability. This is an unresolved problem when dealing with long target sequences that is further complicated when the target contains repetitive sequence domains. As a model for this situation, the problem of detecting gluten in food with identification of the source is studied. In order to discriminate the specific DNA sequence that encodes the wheat prolamin (gliadin) from rye and barley prolamins, the exquisite selectivity of a rationally designed hairpin capture probe is proposed and compared to a nonstructured capture probe. An electrochemical sandwich assay is proposed, involving capture probes chemisorbed on Au surfaces and biotinylated-signaling probes in combination with streptavidin-peroxidase labeling conjugates. As a result, a genosensor with similar sensitivity to that observed with linear probes but with complete specificity against closely related species was achieved. The surface-attached DNA stem-loop yields a device capable of accurately discriminating wheat DNA from rye and barley with a limit of detection of 1 nM.

Graphical Abstract

Hairpin-based DNA sensor for the highly selective detection of wheat sequence


Hairpin-DNA probe Electrochemical genosensor Self-assembled monolayers Enzyme amplification Screen-printed gold electrodes Specificity 



B.M.F. thanks to Universidad Complutense de Madrid for a predoctoral grant. This work has been cofinanced by Projects CTQ2008-02429/BQU granted to “Grupos Consolidados”, CTQ2012-31157 and the European Regional Development Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Begoña Martín-Fernández
    • 1
  • Noemí de-los-Santos-Álvarez
    • 2
  • María Jesús Lobo-Castañón
    • 2
  • Beatriz López-Ruiz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Sección Departamental de Química Analítica, Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Química Física y AnalíticaUniversidad de OviedoOviedoSpain

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