A rapid, highly sensitive and selective colorimetric assay is presented for visually detecting L-histidine. It is based on L-histidine-triggered self-cleavage of DNA duplex-induced gold nanoparticle (AuNP) aggregation. The citrate-capped AuNPs easily aggregate in a high concentration of salt environment. However, in the presence of L-histidine aptamers (DNA1 and DNA2), the partial strands of DNA1 and DNA2 hybridize to form a DNA duplex with a swing structure. The swing-like DNA duplexes are adsorbed on the surface of AuNPs to improve the stability of AuNPs, and the AuNPs also are better dispersed in high-salt media. When L-histidine is added to the solutions, it catalyzes the self-cleavage of DNA1 to form many single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) fragments. These ssDNA segments are adsorbed on the AuNPs and weaken the stability of AuNPs. Hence, the AuNPs aggregate in high-salt environment, and this results in a red-to-blue color change. Under the optimized conditions, L-histidine can be determined with a limit of detection of 3.6 nM. In addition, the sensor was successfully applied to the determination of L-histidine in spiked serum samples.
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This study was supported by Scientific Research Project of Beijing Educational Committee (Grant No. KM201710028009), Youth Innovative Research Team of Capital Normal University, and Capacity Building for Sci-Tech Innovation - Fundamental Scientific Research Funds (025185305000/195).
The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.
A colorimetric assay for detecting L-histidine based on target L-histidine-triggered self-cleavage of DNA duplex-induced AuNP aggregation.
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Jiao, Y., Liu, Q., Qiang, H. et al. Colorimetric detection of L-histidine based on the target-triggered self-cleavage of swing-structured DNA duplex-induced aggregation of gold nanoparticles. Microchim Acta 185, 452 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00604-018-2987-z