Highly Selective Oligonucleotide-Based Sensor for Mercury(II) in Aqueous Solutions


  • This work was supported in part by the National Project on Protein Structural and Functional Analyses and by the Fund for Special Research Projects at Tokyo Metropolitan University. We thank Prof. W. S. Price for helpful discussions.


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Mercury gauge: An oligodeoxyribonucleotide(ODN)-based sensor, which carries energy-donor and -acceptor moieties (fluorescein, F, and dabcyl, D, respectively), selectively detects HgII ions in aqueous solution. Upon binding HgII ions, the ODN takes on a hairpin structure (see picture); this results in a decrease in the fluorescence emission through enhanced FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) from F to D.