In this paper a fiber optic surface plasmon resonance (FO-SPR) sensor was used to analyze the melting process of DNA linked to silica nanoparticles. Real-time monitoring of a DNA melting process has rarely been studied using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), since most commercial SPR setups do not allow for dynamic and accurate temperature control above 50°C. The FO-SPR sensor platform, with silica nanobead signal amplification, allows sensing inside a standard PCR thermocycler, which makes high resolution DNA melting curve analysis possible. This innovative combination was used to characterize the hybridization and melting events between DNA immobilized on the sensor surface and DNA probes on silica nanoparticles. At optimized hybridization conditions complementary DNA strands of different lengths could be distinguished. While the real-time FO-SPR analysis of DNA hybridization did not result in significant variances, the analysis of DNA melting determined the exact length of overlap and the matching Gibbs energy. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.
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