Fluorine-19-DNA-functionalized gold nanoparticles (19F-DNA AuNPs) are demonstrated to provide a 19F-NMR off–on switch in response to target-specific DNA hybridization events. AuNP-bound 19F-DNA produces a low intensity signal that is undetectable above background. Upon complementary DNA hybridization and subsequent19F-DNA release, the 19F-NMR signal becomes detectable. This method has the potential to be used both in vitro and in vivo to non-invasively detect and image specific nucleic acid binding events of interest.
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