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Label-Free DNA Assay by Metal Stable Isotope Detection

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-11-22, 00:00 authored by Rui Liu, Chaoqun Wang, Yuming Xu, Jianyu Hu, Dongyan Deng, Yi Lv
The interest in label-free bioassays is increasing rapidly because of their simple procedure and direct information on the interaction between the target molecule and the sensing unit. One of the major obstacles in the application of label-free biosensors is the difficulty to produce stable and reproducible optical, electric, electrochemical, or magnetic properties for the sensitive detection of the target molecules. In this work, we demonstrated a label-free DNA assay, by directly measuring the intrinsic 63Cu and 65Cu stable isotopes inside the double-strand DNA-templated Cu nanoparticles. The experimental conditions, including detection of copper by elemental mass spectrometry, the copper nanoparticles formation parameters, the hybrid chain reaction parameters, and analytical performance, were investigated in detail. The 63Cu signal intensity possesses a linear relation with the concentration of target DNA over the range of 20–1000 pM with a detection limit of 4 pM (3σ). The detection limit of this method is among the most sensitive label-free techniques and also comparable to the lanthanides and Au nanoparticles labeled assays by elemental mass spectrometric detection. The proposed label-free bioassay is simple and sensitive and eliminated the need for optical, electric, electrochemical, or magnetic properties of the sensing unit. To our best knowledge, this is the first report of the label-free bioassay by metal stable isotope detection.