We report the development of a highly sensitive and selective colorimetric detection method for cysteine based upon oligonucleotide-functionalized gold nanoparticle probes that contain strategically placed thymidine-thymidine (T-T) mismatches complexed with Hg 2+. This assay relies upon the distance-dependent optical properties of gold nanoparticles, the sharp melting transition of oligonucleotide-linked nanoparticle aggregates, and the very selective coordination of Hg 2+ with cysteine. The concentration of cysteine can be determined by monitoring with the naked eye or a UV-vis spectrometer the temperature at which the purple-to-red color change associated with aggregate dissociation takes place. This assay does not utilize organic cosolvents, enzymatic reactions, light-sensitive dye molecules, lengthy protocols, or sophisticated instrumentation thereby overcoming some of the limitations of more conventional methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)