DNA-Stabilized Silver Nanoclusters as Specific, Ratiometric Fluorescent Dopamine Sensors

Neurotransmitters are small molecules that orchestrate complex patterns of brain activity. Unfortunately, there exist few sensors capable of directly detecting individual neurotransmitters. Those sensors that do exist are either unspecific or fail to capture the temporal or spatial dynamics of neurotransmitter release. DNA-stabilized silver nanoclusters (DNA-AgNCs) are a new class of biocompatible, fluorescent nanostructures that have recently been shown to offer promise as biosensors. In this work, we identify two different DNA sequences that form dopamine-sensitive nanoclusters. We demonstrate that each sequence supports two distinct DNA-AgNCs capable of providing specific, ratiometric fluorescent sensing of dopamine concentration in vitro. DNA-Ag nanoclusters therefore offer a novel, low-cost approach to quantification of dopamine, creating the potential for real-time monitoring in vivo.

Jackson T. Del Bonis-O’Donnell, Ami Thakrar, Jeremy Wain Hirschberg, Daniel Vong, Bridget N. Queenan, Deborah K. Fygenson and Sumita Pennathur
ACS Chemical Neuroscience
Volume: 9
Number: 4
Pages: 849–857
Date: December, 2017
ICB Affiliated Authors: Sumita Pennathur