Among the functional nucleic acids studied, adenine-rich nucleic acids have attracted attention due to their critical roles in many biological processes and self-assembly-based nanomaterials, especially deoxyribonucleic acids (abbreviated as poly(dA)). Therefore the ligands binding to poly(dA) might serve as potential therapeutic agents. Coralyne, a kind of planar alkaloid, has been firstly found that it could bind strongly to poly(dA). This work herein reports an approach for visual sensing of the coralyne–poly(dA) interaction. This method was based on the coralyne inducing poly(dA) into the homo-adenine DNA duplex and the difference in electrostatic affinity between single-stranded DNA and double-stranded DNA with gold nanoparticles (GNPs). Furthermore, we applied the recognition process of the interaction between coralyne and poly(dA) into specific coralyne detection with the assistance of certain software (such as Photoshop). A linear response from 0 to 728 nM was obtained for coralyne, and a detection limit of 91 nM was achieved.
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