Aptamer nano-flares for molecular detection in living cells

Dan Zheng, Dwight S. Seferos, David A. Giljohann, Pinal C. Patel, Chad A. Mirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a composite nanomaterial, termed an aptamer nano-flare, that can directly quantify an intracellular analyte in a living cell. Aptamer nano-flares consist of a gold nanoparticle core functionalized with a dense monolayer of nucleic acid aptamers with a high affinity for adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The probes bind selectively to target molecules and release fluorescent reporters which indicate the presence of the analyte. Additionally, these nanoconjugates are readily taken up by cells where their signal intensity can be used to quantify intracellular analyte concentration. These nanoconjugates are a promising approach for the intracellular quantification of other small molecules or proteins, or as agents that use aptamer binding to elicit a biological response in living systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3258-3261
Number of pages4
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 9 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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