MicroRNA sensors based on gold nanoparticles.

Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry (2018-11-06)
Catarina Coutinho, Álvaro Somoza

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs, the dysregulation of which has been associated with the progression of several human diseases, including cancer. Interestingly, these molecules can be used as biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and can be found in a variety of body fluids and tissue samples. However, their specific properties and very low concentrations make their detection rather challenging. In this regard, current detection methods are complex, cost-ineffective, and of limited application in point-of-care settings or resource-limited facilities. Recently, nanotechnology-based approaches have emerged as promising alternatives to conventional miRNA detection methods and paved the way for research towards sensitive, fast, and low-cost detection systems. In particular, due to their exceptional properties, the use of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) has significantly improved the performance of miRNA biosensors. This review discusses the application of AuNPs in different miRNA sensor modalities, commenting on recently reported examples. A practical overview of each modality is provided, highlighting their future use in clinical diagnosis. Graphical abstract ᅟ.

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