Enhancing the optical detection of mutants from healthy DNA with diamondoids
DNA mutations and epigenetics have a vital role in cell development and human diseases. The identification of mutants among healthy nucleotides is indispensable and engineered nanomaterials can be an ideal platform for next-generation sequencing technology. Herein, we explore the sensitivity of memantine-thiol diamondoid in sensing and identifying modified DNA nucleotides by considering a mutation and an epigenetic marker as representative modified forms of cytosine and guanine. We demonstrate the possibility of detecting small modifications in nucleotides using optical absorption spectroscopy and charge transfer analysis. The results underline distinct features in the diamondoid–nucleotide complexes with respect to the modification in the nuclotides. A transient excitation of the complexes at certain energies obtained from their absorption spectra reveals different characteristics in the temporal evolution of the dipole moment oscillations for healthy and modified DNA nucleotides. Our study has clearly shown distinct peaks in the transformed spectra, detectable through high resolution spectroscopy studies. Accordingly, a diamondoid has high potential to optically probe chemical modifications within single DNA nucleotides, a significant aspect towards DNA sensing.