Gold-nanoparticle-based colorimetric discrimination of cancer-related point mutations with picomolar sensitivity

Paola Valentini, Roberto Fiammengo, Stefania Sabella, Manuela Gariboldi, Gabriele Maiorano, Roberto Cingolani, Pier Paolo Pompa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Point mutations in the Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue (KRAS) gene are being increasingly recognized as important diagnostic and prognostic markers in cancer. In this work, we describe a rapid and low-cost method for the naked-eye detection of cancer-related point mutations in KRAS based on gold nanoparticles. This simple colorimetric assay is sensitive (limit of detection in the low picomolar range), instrument-free, and employs nonstringent room temperature conditions due to a combination of DNA-conjugated gold nanoparticles, a probe design which exploits cooperative hybridization for increased binding affinity, and signal enhancement on the surface of magnetic beads. Additionally, the scheme is suitable for point-of-care applications, as it combines naked-eye detection, small sample volumes, and isothermal (PCR-free) amplification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5530-5538
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 25 2013


  • biosensors
  • colorimetric
  • genotyping
  • gold nanoparticles
  • stacking interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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