2. Metal-Labeled DNA on Surfaces

  1. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz2,
  2. Charles E. Carraher Jr.3,
  3. Charles U. Pittman Jr.4,
  4. John E. Sheats5 and
  5. Martel Zeldin6
  1. Heinz-Bernhard Kraatz,
  2. Yitao Long and
  3. Todd C. Sutherland

Published Online: 28 JUL 2004

DOI: 10.1002/0471683779.ch2

Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Biomedical Applications, Volume 3

Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Biomedical Applications, Volume 3

How to Cite

Kraatz, H.-B., Long, Y. and Sutherland, T. C. (2004) Metal-Labeled DNA on Surfaces, in Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Biomedical Applications, Volume 3 (eds A. S. Abd-El-Aziz, C. E. Carraher, C. U. Pittman, J. E. Sheats and M. Zeldin), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471683779.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Chemistry, The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

  2. 3

    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida and Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA

  3. 4

    Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA

  4. 5

    Department of Chemistry, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA

  5. 6

    Department of Chemistry, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Saskatchewan, 110 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5C9, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 JUL 2004
  2. Published Print: 18 JUN 2004

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471667377

Online ISBN: 9780471683773



  • ferrocene;
  • self-assembly;
  • metal-labeled DNA


The self-assembly properties of DNA have been exploited to generate 2D and 3D structures on surfaces and in solution. DNA now can be modified by metal centers at individual bases or at either termini. The ability to label DNA sites specifically with metal centers allows us to influence the electronic properties of the assembly. Potential applications of these modified DNA constructs in the design of nanoelectronic or bioelectronic circuitry may be within reach. Especially, the most recent developments in the area of direct basepair metallation, such as Cu-DNA and M-DNA, allow superb control over the electronics of the DNA construct and reduce the synthetic efforts.

As shown in this review, a large driving force for research in the area of metal-DNA conjugates stems from sensor applications, for example in the detection of genetic defects, genomic fingerprinting for identification purposes, or applications in personalized medicine. Electrochemical detection methods offer a superior sensitivity to currently available optical gene chip technology. Gene chip technology has to rely on attaching a fluorescence tag to one of the DNA strands after PCR amplification. Recent advances in the area of electrochemical DNA detection described in this review should allow the development of biosensors that do not require labeling of the target DNA.

One of the holy grails of E-biosensors is the detection of single nucleotide mismatches time- and cost-effectively without the need for a lengthy PCR amplification, or in heterozygote mixtures or under non-ideal hybridization conditions. These goals are yet unrealized. Especially difficult will be the detection of DNA under “real-to-life” conditions, such as high salt concentrations or in the presence of large quantities of impurities. However, the possibility of single molecule detection using ultra-fast electrochemical techniques on ultramicroelectrodes may offer solutions to this problem.