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Assessing telomere length using surface enhanced Raman scattering.

Authors: Shenfei S. Zong, Zhuyuan Z. Wang, Hui H. Chen, Yiping Y. Cui
Published: 11/10/2014, Scientific reports


Telomere length can provide valuable insight into telomeres and telomerase related diseases, including cancer. Here, we present a brand-new optical telomere length measurement protocol using surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). In this protocol, two single strand DNA are used as SERS probes. They are labeled with two different Raman molecules and can specifically hybridize with telomeres and centromere, respectively. First, genome DNA is extracted from cells. Then the telomere and centromere SERS probes are added into the genome DNA. After hybridization with genome DNA, excess SERS probes are removed by magnetic capturing nanoparticles. Finally, the genome DNA with SERS probes attached is dropped onto a SERS substrate and subjected to SERS measurement. Longer telomeres result in more attached telomere probes, thus a stronger SERS signal. Consequently, SERS signal can be used as an indicator of telomere length. Centromere is used as the inner control. By calibrating the SERS intensity of telomere probe with that of the centromere probe, SERS based telomere measurement is realized. This protocol does not require polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or electrophoresis procedures, which greatly simplifies the detection process. We anticipate that this easy-operation and cost-effective protocol is a fine alternative for the assessment of telomere length.

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