Fluorescence self-assembled DNA hydrogel for the determination of prostate specific antigen by aggregation induced emission
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In this study, an aptamer-based, functionalized-DNA hydrogel system is developed for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) detection. A pure DNA hydrogel is constructed using specific DNA building blocks and an aptamer as a cross-linker. Firstly, silver nanoclusters (AgNCs) are constructed on the Y-shaped DNA (Y-DNA) building blocks. Then, the DNA hydrogel was formed via the addition of the cross-linker to the Y-DNA solution. In this case, the fluorescence emission of silver nanoclusters that have accumulated in the hydrogel increases due to aggregation-induced emission (AIE). The presence of PSA and its subsequent interaction with its specific aptamer dissolve the hydrogel structures, which leads to a low emission intensity. A great linear relationship was attained in this assay in the range of 0.05 to 8 ng mL-1 with a detection limit of 4.4 pg mL-1 for the detection of PSA. Additionally, the proposed aptasensor was successfully used to detect PSA in human serum samples. The recovery for different concentrations of PSA was in the range of 96.1% to 99.3%, and the RSD range was from 2.3% to 4.5%. Comparing our method to current ones in the field of PSA detection proves that our platform benefits from a simpler procedure, lower cost, and better efficiency, providing high potential for future clinical applications.
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