Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Fast and sensitive DNA hybridization assays using microwave-accelerated metal-enhanced fluorescence.

PMID 16890197


A new, fast, and sensitive DNA hybridization assay platform based on microwave-accelerated metal-enhanced fluorescence (MAMEF) is presented. Thiolated oligonucleotide anchors were immobilized onto silver nanoparticles on a glass substrate. The hybridization of the complementary fluorescein-labeled DNA target with the surface-bound oligonucleotides was completed within 20 s upon heating with low-power microwaves. In addition, the signal is optically amplified, a consequence of close proximity of the fluorophore to the silvered substrate. In this proof-of-principle methodology, as low as 50 nM of a target DNA was detected, although we envisage far-lower detection limits. Control experiments, where the surface-bound oligonucleotide was omitted, were also performed to determine the extent of non-specific binding. In these studies a significantly reduced non-specific adsorption was found when using microwave heating near to silvered structures as compared to room temperature incubation. These findings suggest that MAMEF could be a most useful alternative to the DNA hybridization assays used today, especially with regard to substantially increasing both the assay rapidity and sensitivity.

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