Nanoplasmonic biosensing of specific LC3 autophagy markers enabling drug discovery of autophagy modulators

Young Jae Choi, Jong Uk Lee, Sang Jun Sim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Autophagy is a fundamental intracellular catabolic process that degrades cytoplasmic constituents to maintain cellular homeostasis. Since autophagy-targeting cancer therapies are gaining attention for their association with cancer progression and drug resistance, the need to develop rapid and precise autophagic flux measurement to evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapies is critical. Here, we present a localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) based two-step sensing platform, enabling microtubule-associated proteins 1 A/1B light chain 3 (LC3) turnover assay, measuring LC3-I conversion to LC3-II, which indicates autophagic flux. This work represents an improvement made to our previous total LC3 detecting sensor by measuring specific LC3 ratios within a wide dynamic concentration range from 102 to 106 fM with the treatment of phosphatidylethanolamine binding protein 1 (PEBP1). Furthermore, it enables autophagic flux measurement without any limitation in LC3 compositions of clinical samples, compared to the sensor of our previous study. The sensor successfully analyzed the drug efficacy with high sensitivity under clinical conditions where autophagy-targeted drugs were treated to human cancer cell lines. Our results suggest that this sensor, capable of quantifying individual LC3 forms in a single platform, can be utilized as a rapid, convenient, and cost-effective drug discovery tool in relevance with autophagy-targeted chemotherapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131744
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Y. J. Choi and J. U. Lee contributed equally to this work. This study was supported by the grant (No. NRF-2019R1A2C3009821/2020R1A5A1018052 ) from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science and ICT) , and the grant (No. HU21C0335 ) from the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) and Korea Dementia Research Center (Korea Health Technology R&D Project) funded by the Korea government (Ministry of Health & Welfare and Ministry of Science and ICT) .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Autophagic flux
  • Drug discovery
  • LC3
  • Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR)
  • Nanoplasmonic sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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