Catalytic Activity-modulated Etching of Plasmonic Gold Nanorods Enabled Ultra-sensitive Colorimetric Strategy for Early-Stage Cancer Diagnosis

Caiping Ding, Ming Li, Weiwei Chen, Zikang Chen, Zhanhu Guo, Ben Bin Xu*, Xuehua Zhang, Zhiyong Guo, Youju Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

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While the aberrant low expression of metallothioneins (MTs) in tissue has been recognized as an effective indicator to spot the occurrence of early-stage malignant tumors, the ultra-sensitive detection of MTs at a low concentration (< 10 nM) remains to be developed. Here, a facile multicolor colorimetric visualization strategy is introduced to detect MTs at an extreme low concentration down to 28 pM, enabled by the catalytic activity-modulated etching of plasmonic gold nanorods (CAEPAu). The catalytic reduction is inhibited by covering the nanospheres with highly specific protein corona recognizing MTs, thus facilitating a customized etching of nanorods (NRs) into nanospheres to present color correspondingly. The CAEPAu assay detects MTs in 35 min, significantly faster than the existing method (~3 hours). We demonstrate to use CAEPAu assay to precisely detect and distinguish MTs in four tumor cells, clinic blood samples and other proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number146689
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date15 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2023

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