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New Signal Amplification Strategy Using Semicarbazide as Co-reaction Accelerator for Highly Sensitive Electrochemiluminescent Aptasensor Construction

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journal contribution
posted on 17.11.2015, 00:00 by Meng-Nan Ma, Ying Zhuo, Ruo Yuan, Ya-Qin Chai
A highly sensitive electrochemiluminescent (ECL) aptasensor was constructed using semicarbazide (Sem) as co-reaction accelerator to promote the ECL reaction rate of CdTe quantum dots (CdTe QDs) and the co-reactant of peroxydisulfate (S2O82–) for boosting signal amplification. The co-reaction accelerator is a species that when it is introduced into the ECL system containing luminophore and co-reactant, it can interact with co-reactant rather than luminophore to promote the ECL reaction rate of luminophore and co-reactant; thus the ECL signal is significantly amplified in comparison with that in which only luminophore and co-reactant are present. In this work, the ECL signal probes were first fabricated by alternately assembling the Sem and Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) onto the surfaces of hollow Au nanocages (AuNCs) via Au–N bond to obtain the multilayered nanomaterials of (AuNPs-Sem)n-AuNCs for immobilizing amino-terminated detection aptamer of thrombin (TBA2). Notably, the Sem with two -NH2 terminal groups could not only serve as cross-linking reagent to assemble AuNPs and AuNCs but also act as co-reaction accelerator to enhance the ECL reaction rate of CdTe QDs and S2O82– for signal amplification. With the sandwich-type format, TBA2 signal probes could be trapped on the CdTe QD-based sensing interface in the presence of thrombin (TB) to achieve a considerably enhanced ECL signal in S2O82– solution. As a result, the Sem in the TBA2 signal probes could accelerate the reduction of S2O82– to produce the more oxidant mediators of SO4•–, which further boosted the production of excited states of CdTe QDs to emit light. With the employment of the novel co-reaction accelerator Sem, the proposed ECL biosensor exhibited ultrahigh sensitivity to quantify the concentration of TB from 1 × 10–7 to 1 nM with a detection limit of 0.03 fM, which demonstrated that the co-reaction accelerator could provide a simple, efficient, and low-cost approach for signal amplification and hold great potential for other ECL biosensors construction.