Single-excited double-emission CdTe@CdS quantum dots for use in a fluorometric hybridization assay for multiple tumor-related microRNAs


A method is described for the simultaneous determination of hepatocellular carcinoma-associated microRNA-122 and microRNA-199a/b-3p. This probe consists of two kinds of nanomaterials. The first comprises CdTe@CdS core-shell quantum dots which, on excitation at 375 nm give two emissions, with peak wavelengths at 543 (g-QDs) and at 627 nm (r-QDs). The second comprises gold nanoparticles acting as a quencher. In the absence of the target, g-QD-N1 and r-QD-N2 are stable due to the fluorescence stability. With the addition of microRNA-122 and microRNA-199a/b-3p, g-QD-N1 and r-QD-N2 are conjugated to the surface of AuNP-S1/S2 through base complementary pairing. As a result, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) occurs, resulting in a decrease at 550 nm and 635 nm respectively, which can realize the simultaneous detection of two different microRNAs. Detection is achieved within 50 min. The detection limits (3σ/k) are 0.2 nM for microRNA-122 and 0.5 nM for microRNA-199a/b-3p. The clinical applicability of the assay was demonstrated by detecting microRNAs in human serum and different cell lysates.

Schematic for the simultaneous determination of microRNA-122 and microRNA-199a/b-3p by FRET.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21775132), Natural Science Foundation of Hunan province (No.2018JJ2388), Hunan 2011 Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Engineering & Technology with Environmental Benignity and Effective Resource Utilization, and “1515”academic leader team program of Hunan Agricultural University.

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Conceived and designed the experiments: Ling Xiang, Jian Feng, Chunyan Chen performed the experiments. Feng Zhang and Changqun Cai supervised all research. Changqun Cai also wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to reagents/materials/technical support to this study.

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Correspondence to Chunyan Chen or Changqun Cai.

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Xiang, L., Zhang, F., Feng, J. et al. Single-excited double-emission CdTe@CdS quantum dots for use in a fluorometric hybridization assay for multiple tumor-related microRNAs. Microchim Acta 187, 134 (2020).

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  • Dual-color quantum dots
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma-associated microRNA
  • Simultaneous microRNA determination