Femtomolar detection of single mismatches by discriminant analysis of DNA hybridization events using gold nanoparticles†
Even though DNA-based nanosensors have been demonstrated for quantitative detection of analytes and diseases, hybridization events have never been numerically investigated for further understanding of DNA mediated interactions. Here, we developed a nanoscale platform with well-designed capture and detection gold nanoprobes to precisely evaluate the hybridization events. The capture gold nanoprobes were mono-laid on glass and the detection probes were fabricated via a novel competitive conjugation method. The two kinds of probes combined in a suitable orientation following the hybridization with the target. We found that hybridization efficiency was markedly dependent on electrostatic interactions between DNA strands, which can be tailored by adjusting the salt concentration of the incubation solution. Due to the much lower stability of the double helix formed by mismatches, the hybridization efficiencies of single mismatched (MMT) and perfectly matched DNA (PMT) were different. Therefore, we obtained an optimized salt concentration that allowed for discrimination of MMT from PMT without stringent control of temperature or pH. The results indicated this to be an ultrasensitive and precise nanosensor for the diagnosis of genetic diseases.