Aptamernanoparticle Conjugates For Protein Detection

Quantum dots (QDs) are nanometer-sized semiconductor crystals with tunable fluorescence that can be developed as sensitive biosensors or probes for in vivo imaging and diagnostic appli-cations.145-147 Unlike conventional small molecule fluorophores and biological fluorophores, such as the green fluorescence protein (GFP), QDs possess several favorable characteristics, including: (1) greatly improved photostability (lack of photobleaching) that enable real time imaging of biomarkers over an extended period of time; (2) a broad excitation wavelength and a narrow emission wavelength enabling excitation of multiple QDs simultaneously using a single laser wavelength; (3) bright fluorescence with high quantum yield; and (4) ability to functionalize the surface of QDs with various molecules ranging from small molecules to antibodies and apta-mers for desired targeted applications. Taken together, these favorable characteristics have made QDs an emerging class of imaging probes with broad applications in medicine.

Metallic nanoparticles, such as gold-nanoparticles (Gd-NPs), are capable of absorbing or scattering light and are now used in many biological applications, particularly visualization of cellular and tissue components by electron microscopy.148,149 More recently, it has been reported that antibody-Gd-NP conjugates150,151 can detect proteins152 or viruses153 in solution through surface plasmon resonance effect, which results in color change depending on the status of aggregation of the particles. This simple phenomenon together with the fact that Gd-NPs are biocompatible makes Gd-NPs useful detection probes of various in vivo applications.154

The surface functionalization of QDs and Gd-NPs with specific targeting molecules may result in the development of targeted imaging modalities with widespread applications in research and medicine.

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