Microchimica Acta

, 185:372 | Cite as

Fluorometric determination of microRNA-155 in cancer cells based on carbon dots and MnO2 nanosheets as a donor-acceptor pair

  • Somayeh Mohammadi
  • Abdollah SalimiEmail author
Original Paper


A fluorometric method is presented for sensitive deternination of microRNA. It is making use of carbon dots (C-dots) loaded with a DNA probe as fluorophore and MnO2 nanosheets as the quenching agent. The blue-green fluorescence of the DNA-loaded C-dots is quenched by the MnO2 nanosheets, but restored on binding target microRNA-155. The maximum excitation wavelength and the maximum emission wavelength of C-dots are at 360 nm and 455 nm, respectively. Fluorescence correlates linearly with the log of the microRNA-155 concentration in two ranges, viz. from 0.15 to 1.65 aM and from 1.65 to 20 aM. The detection limit is as low as 0.1 aM. The assay can discriminate between fully complementary and single-base mismatch microRNA. The assay displayed high specificity when used to detect MCF-7 breast cancer cells which can be detected in concentrations from 1000 to 45,000 cells·mL−1, with a 600 cells·mL−1 detection limit. The method was applied to the analysis of serum samples spiked with microRNA, and satisfactory results were acquired.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of a fluorometric sensing platform for miRNA-155. The method relies on a FRET process between C-dots and MnO2 nanosheets. This strategy has a practical application for detection of miRNA in cell lines and biological fluids.


MicroRNA-155 detection Carbon dots MnO2 nanosheets Fluorescence resonance energy transfer MCF-7 cell line Cancer diagnostic 



The financial support of Iranian Nanotechnology Initiative and Research Office of University of Kurdistan (Grant Number 4.1261) are gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank the Programming and Management Organization of Kurdistan Province for partly financial support (Grant Number 4.53053).

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2018_2868_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.3 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1.32 mb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of KurdistanSanandajIran
  2. 2.Research Center for NanotechnologyUniversity of KurdistanSanandajIran

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