A sensitive fluorescence assay of organophosphorus pesticides using acetylcholinesterase and copper-catalyzed click chemistry†
Organophosphorus pesticides (OPs) are widely used in agricultural fields, but exhibit high toxicity to human beings. A sensitive fluorescence assay for organophosphorus pesticides was developed using the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and the copper-catalyzed click chemical reaction. In the click reaction, two hybridized DNA probes can be ligated with copper ions, inducing a fluorescence quenching during the strand displacement reaction. AChE can hydrolyze acetylthiocholine (ATCh) to form thiocholine (TCh) which contains a thiol group. TCh will react with copper ions, blocking the click reaction and a high fluorescence signal is observed. But in the presence of OPs, the activity of AChE is inhibited, releasing a high concentration of copper ions that catalyze the click chemical reaction and resulting in decreased fluorescence signals. Taking advantage of the copper-mediated signal amplification effect, the sensitivity was improved. This assay has also been applied to detect OPs in river water samples with satisfactory results, which demonstrates that the method has great potential for practical applications in environmental protection and food safety fields.