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Keywords:

  • Biosensors;
  • Conjugated polymers;
  • HIV;
  • Optical amplification

A sensor is described that takes advantage of highly specific RNA–protein interactions and the light-harvesting properties of conjugated polymers. Coordination between a cationic conjugated polymer (CP+) and a negatively charged protein–RNA complex results in efficient Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) from CP+ to a protein-bound chromophore (see Figure and inside cover). This sensor was used to detect the transactivation responsive RNA sequence of HIV-1.