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Peptide-Nanoparticle Hybrid SERS Probes for Optical Detection of Protease Activity

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Real-time in situ detection of active proteases is crucial for early-stage cancer screening and cell signaling pathway study; however, it is difficult to achieve using fluorescence or radioactive probes at volumes below 1 nL. Here we demonstrated a hybrid optical probe by incorporating nanocrescent particle and peptides with artificial tag molecules. We performed a proof-of-concept study using prostate specific antigen (PSA), one of the most prominent prostate cancer markers, and a serine protease present in patients' seminal fluid and serum. The Raman spectral signal from the tag molecules is enhanced by the nanocrescent and the signal is monitored as the indicator for peptide cleavage in a femtoliter reaction volume, at levels close to a single proteolytically active PSA molecule. The high reaction specificity of the peptides on individual nanoparticles minimizes the false detection of other serine proteases and background Raman signal, which results in a high-fidelity and high-signal-to-noise-ratio cancer nanoprobe that can be easily incorporated into nano/microfluidic devices.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2007

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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