Direct protein quantification in complex sample solutions by surface-engineered nanorod probes

Stefan Schrittwieser, Beatriz Pelaz, Wolfgang J. Parak, Sergio Lentijo Mozo, Katerina Soulantica, Jan Dieckhoff, Frank Ludwig, Joerg Schotter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Detecting biomarkers from complex sample solutions is the key objective of molecular diagnostics. Being able to do so in a simple approach that does not require laborious sample preparation, sophisticated equipment and trained staff is vital for point-of-care applications. Here, we report on the specific detection of the breast cancer biomarker sHER2 directly from serum and saliva samples by a nanorod-based homogeneous biosensing approach, which is easy to operate as it only requires mixing of the samples with the nanorod probes. By careful nanorod surface engineering and homogeneous assay design, we demonstrate that the formation of a protein corona around the nanoparticles does not limit the applicability of our detection method, but on the contrary enables us to conduct in-situ reference measurements, thus further strengthening the point-of-care applicability of our method. Making use of sandwich assays on top of the nanorods, we obtain a limit of detection of 110 pM and 470 pM in 10-fold diluted spiked saliva and serum samples, respectively. In conclusion, our results open up numerous applications in direct protein biomarker quantification, specifically in point-of-care settings where resources are limited and ease-of-use is of essence.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 30 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank Frauke Alves and Julia Bode from the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen for the supply with the Herceptin therapeutic drug. We also want to thank David Fernandez and Amagoia Ametzazurra from Progenika Biopharma for providing the serum. This research was supported by the European Commission FP7 NAMDIATREAM project (EU NMP4-LA-2010–246479), and the German Research Foundation (DFG grant PA 794/25-1).


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