Direct detection of microRNA based on plasmon hybridization of nanoparticle dimers†
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are important for regulating a range of biochemical pathways. Abnormal levels of miRNA in cells or secreted into biological fluids have been identified in diseases. MiRNA can therefore be potential biomarkers for early disease diagnosis; however their detection and quantification are challenging. Herein we apply the sensing platform of discrete actuatable dimers for the detection of human miR-210 (hsa-miR-210-3p). The detection signal is a spectral blue shift in the hybridized plasmon mode as monitored by single-nanostructure spectroscopy. We investigate the specificity and detection limit of the platform and quantify miR-210 levels in RNA extracts of cells cultured under different oxygen tensions. In addition we demonstrate the feasibility of detection in complex media by examining miR-210 secreted in cell media. This sensing platform may be developed as a bioanalytical tool for validating miRNA profiles of biological fluids.