Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 399, Issue 10, pp 3451–3458 | Cite as

DNA sensor by using electrochemiluminescence of acridinium ester initiated by tripropylamine

  • Yi He
  • Hao Zhang
  • Ying Chai
  • Hua CuiEmail author
Original Paper


It was found that tripropylamine (TPA) could be used as a coreactant to initiate the electrochemiluminescence (ECL) of acridinium NHS ester (AE NHS) labels attached to DNA. The radicals generated in the electro-oxidation process of TPA reacted with AE NHS to form the excited N-methylacridone, giving rise to light emission. The AE/TPA ECL system was for the first time used as the detection system for developing an ECL-based DNA sensor. In the protocol, streptavidin-modified gold nanoparticles were firstly immobilized onto a thiol-treated gold electrode. The streptavidin could specifically interact with the biontinylated capture DNA. Afterwards, the target DNA and the AE-labeled report DNA were conjugated onto the electrode step by step due to the hybridization reactions, and a sandwich-type sensor was fabricated. The ECL signals of the sensor were obtained under pulse potential condition in alkaline solution containing 50.0 mmol L−1 TPA. Under optimized experimental conditions, the linear range of the DNA sensor for the determination of the target DNA was from 5.0 × 10−15 to 5.0 × 10−12 mol L−1. The detection limit (S/N = 3) was 3.0 × 10−15 mol L−1. Moreover, the sensor could specifically recognize the target DNA against one base-pair mismatched sequences, two base-pair mismatched sequences, and the noncomplementary sequences. It is of great application potential in clinic analysis.


Electrochemiluminescence DNA sensor Acridinium ester Gold nanoparticles 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of P. R. China (grant nos. 20625517 and 20573101) and the Overseas Outstanding Young Scientist Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Supplementary material

216_2010_4157_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (462 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 461 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, Department of ChemistryUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China

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