Sticky & Shiny, DNA & Silver – University of Copenhagen

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07 September 2012

Sticky & Shiny, DNA & Silver

Interdisciplinary research at Center for Synthetic Biology has resulted in a paper in the American Chemical Society's NANO journal that shows how the folding of DNA-pieces containing silver-nanoclusters can be optimized for microRNA detection.

microRNA sensors can be built using silver and DNA: The sequence of the DNA pieces (or probes) are designed to bind to a specific microRNA. When attaching silver-nanoclusters to the DNA probes, a bright red light is emitted. The intensity of the light dramatically drops when a microRNA binds to a DNA probe. This was shown by the groups of associate professors Seong Wook Yang and Tom Vosch, who are also the authors of these new results.

This new paper shows that if the DNA pieces have a tendency to stick to themselves and form mismatch self-dimers, it is a good indicator that the DNA-bound silver nanoclusters have been correctly formed. These results will enable rapid design of effective DNA probes for detection of other microRNAs than the ones tested in the current study, and this bio-sensing technology has relevant potential applications in e.g. pharmaceutical research and detection of pathogens. 

The article can be read here: