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Ultrasensitive MicroRNA Assay via Surface Plasmon Resonance Responses of Au@Ag Nanorods Etching

Gu, Yu, Song, Juan, Li, Mei-Xing, Zhang, Ting-Ting, Zhao, Wei, Xu, Jing-Juan, Liu, Maili, Chen, Hong-Yuan
Analytical chemistry 2017 v.89 no.19 pp. 10585-10591
DNA, absorption, bioassays, blood serum, color, detection limit, gold, hybridization chain reaction, microRNA, microscopy, nanorods, oligonucleotides, silver, surface plasmon resonance
Quantification of trace serum circulate microRNAs is extremely important in clinical diagnosis but remains a great challenge. Herein we developed an ultrasensitive platform for microRNA 141 (miR-141) detection based on a silver coated gold nanorods (Au@Ag NRs) etching process accompanied by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) shift. Both SPR absorption and scattering responses were monitored. Combined amplification cascades of catalyzed hairpin assembly (CHA) and hybridization chain reaction (HCR) with the sensitive SPR responses of plasmonic Au@Ag NRs, the proposed bioassay exhibited ultrahigh sensitivity toward miRNA-141 with dynamic range from 5.0 × 10–¹⁷ M to 1.0 × 10–¹¹ M. With target concentration higher than 1.0 × 10–¹³ M, the color of the solution changed obviously that could be observed with naked eyes. Under dark-field microscopy observation of individual particle, a limit of detection down to 50 aM could be achieved. Owing to the superior sensitivity and selectivity, the proposed method was applied to detecting trace microRNA in serum. Similar SPR assays could be developed simply by redesigning the switching aptamer for the detections of other microRNAs or targets such as small molecule, DNA, or protein. Considering the convenient operation, good performance and simple observation modes of this method, it may have great potential in trace bioanalysis for clinical applications.