Emission detection of mercuric ions in aqueous media based-on dehybridization of DNA duplexes

Byul Nim Oh, Qiong Wu, Mi Sun Cha, Hee Kyung Kang, Jin Ah Kim, Ka Young Kim, Eswaran Rajkumar, Jinheung Kim

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To quantify the presence of mercuric ions in aqueous solution, double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) of poly(dT) was employed using a light switch compound, Ru(phen)2(dppz)2+ (1) which is reported to intercalate into dsDNA of a right-handed B-form. Addition of mercuric ions induced the dehybridization of poly(dT)•poly(dA) duplexes to form a hairpin structure of poly(dT) at room temperature and the metal-to-ligand charge transfer emission derived from the intercalation of 1 was reduced due to the dehybridization of dsDNA. As the concentration of Hg2+ was increased, the emission of 1 progressively decreased. This label-free emission method had a detection limit of 0.2 nM. Other metal ions, such as K+, Ag +, Ca2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, Mn 2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Cd 2+, Cr3+, Fe3+, had no significant effect on reducing emission. This emission method can differentiate matched and mismatched poly(dT) sequences based on the emission intensity of dsDNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3223-3228
Number of pages6
JournalBulletin of the Korean Chemical Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2011


  • DNA intercalation
  • Light switch Ru compound
  • Mercuric ion sensing
  • Metal-to-ligand transfer emission
  • Mismatch detection
  • Poly(dT)


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