Direct and Label-Free Detection of MicroRNA Cancer Biomarkers using SERS-Based Plasmonic Coupling Interference (PCI) Nanoprobes.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small noncoding endogenous RNA molecules, are emerging as promising biomarkers for early detection of various diseases and cancers. Practical screening tools and strategies to detect these small molecules are urgently needed to facilitate the translation of miRNA biomarkers into clinical practice. In this study, a label-free biosensing technique based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), referred to as plasmonic coupling interference (PCI), was applied for the multiplex detection of miRNA biomarkers. The sensing mechanism of the PCI technique relies on the formation of a nanonetwork consisting of nanoparticles with Raman labels located between adjacent nanoparticles that are interconnected by DNA duplexes. Because of the plasmonic coupling effect of adjacent nanoparticles in the nanonetwork, the Raman labels exhibit intense SERS signals. Such effect can be modulated by the addition of miRNA targets of interest that act as inhibitors to interfere with the formation of this nanonetwork, resulting in a diminished SERS signal. In this study, the PCI technique is theoretically analyzed, and the multiplex capability for detection of multiple miRNA cancer biomarkers is demonstrated, establishing the great potential of PCI nanoprobes as a useful diagnostic tool for medical applications.
Wang, H-N; Crawford, BM; Norton, SJ; Vo-Dinh, T
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