Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 30, pp 8747–8754 | Cite as

A label-free method for the detection of specific DNA sequences using gold nanoparticles bifunctionalized with a chemiluminescent reagent and a catalyst as signal reporters

  • Lingfeng Gao
  • Xiao He
  • Li Ju
  • Xiaoying Liu
  • Fang Li
  • Hua CuiEmail author
Paper in Forefront
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Highlights of Analytical Chemical Luminescence


Sensitive, specific, simple, fast, and low-cost DNA detection methods are extremely important in clinical diagnostics, gene therapy, and a variety of biomedical studies. In this work, we developed a general method for the detection of specific DNA sequences from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and myelocytomatosis viral oncogene (v-myc) using gold nanoparticles bifunctionalized with both a chemiluminescent (CL) reagent and a catalytic metal complex as signal reporters and a DNA strand complementary to the target as the capture probe. In this CL method, a biotinylated single-strand DNA capture probe was immobilized in a streptavidin-coated microwell. Upon the addition of the target single-strand DNA, the capture probe hybridized with the target DNA. After adding the bifunctionalized gold nanoparticles and H2O2, a well-defined CL signal was obtained, and the CL intensity was observed to change as the target DNA concentration was increased. It was possible to determine the concentration of the target TB single-strand DNA in the range 1.0 × 10−13–1.0 × 10−8 M with a detection limit of 4.8 × 10−14 M. HBV single-strand DNA and v-myc single-strand DNA could also be determined in the range 1.0 × 10−11–1.0 × 10−8 M with detection limits of 5.9 × 10−12 M and 8.0 × 10−12 M, respectively, using this CL technique. The method reported in this paper is the first label-free CL method for the determination of specific DNA sequences to utilize gold nanoparticles bifunctionalized with both a CL reagent and a catalytic metal complex. The sensitivity of this CL method is superior to those of most previously reported label-free methods. Compared with methods that use polymerase chain reaction amplification, this label-free CL method is much simpler, faster, and more economic. This work has thus demonstrated a simple and fast scanning strategy for the detection of specific DNA sequences related to diseases.

Graphical Abstract

Schematic illustration of label-free CL method for detection of specific DNA sequences


DNA Determination Chemiluminescence Bifunctionalized gold nanoparticles N-(Aminobutyl)-N-(ethylisoluminol) Metal complexes 



The support of this research by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 21075115 and 21173201) and the Opening Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, CAS (grant no. SKLEAC201408) is gratefully acknowledged.

Author contributions

All of the authors contrbuted to the writing of the manuscript, and they all approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

The research was approved by the Ethical Committee of the University of Science and Technology China. All volunteers were informed of and agreed with the objectives of the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2015_9244_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (726 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 726 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lingfeng Gao
    • 1
  • Xiao He
    • 1
  • Li Ju
    • 1
  • Xiaoying Liu
    • 1
  • Fang Li
    • 1
  • Hua Cui
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, Department of ChemistryUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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