Graphene Oxide Nano-Concentrators Selectively Modulate RNA Trapping According to Metal Cations in Solution

Valentina Palmieri, Lorena Di Pietro, Giordano Perini, Marta Barba, Ornella Parolini, Marco De Spirito, Wanda Lattanzi, Massimiliano Papi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With recent advances in nanotechnology, graphene nanomaterials are being translated to applications in the fields of biosensing, medicine, and diagnostics, with unprecedented power. Graphene is a carbon allotrope derived from graphite exfoliation made of an extremely thin honeycomb of sp2 hybridized carbons. In comparison with the bulk materials, graphene and its water-soluble derivative graphene oxide have a smaller size suitable for diagnostic platform miniaturization as well as high surface area and consequently loading of a large number of biological probes. In this work, we propose a nanotechnological method for concentrating total RNA solution and/or enriching small RNA molecules. To this aim, we exploited the unique trapping effects of GO nanoflakes in the presence of divalent cations (i.e., calcium and magnesium) that make it flocculate and precipitate, forming complex meshes that are positively charged. Here, we demonstrated that GO traps can concentrate nucleic acids in the presence of divalent cations and that small RNAs can be selectively released from GO-magnesium traps. GO nano-concentrators will allow better analytical performance with samples available in small amounts and will increase the sensitivity of sequencing platforms by short RNA selection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number421
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - May 25 2020


  • diagnostics
  • graphene
  • miRNA
  • nanotechnology
  • nucleic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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