Signal self-enhancement by coordinated assembly of gold nanoparticles enables accurate one-step-immunoassays

J. H. Kwon, H. T. Kim, J. H. Lee, R. Kim, M. Heo, J. Shin, H. Y. Lee, Y. J. Cha, J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Current immunoassays are in general performed through time-consuming multi-step procedures that depend on the use of premade signal-producing reporters and often cause assay inaccuracy. Here we report an advanced immunoassay technology that resolves the delayed, complex, and inaccurate assay problems of conventional immunoassays. We have developed an accurate, rapid, simple, and label-free one-step-immunoassay based on the self-enhancement of sensitive immunoassay signals in an assay solution. The nano-scale protein particles (hepatitis B virus capsid and human ferritin heavy chain particles) were genetically engineered to present many well-oriented antibody (or antigen) probes and multi-copies of poly-histidine peptides on their surface, resulting in the construction of 3-dimensional (3D) bioprobes that chemisorb gold ions via coordination bonding and sensitively detect both antigen and antibody analytes. Systematic numerical and experimental analyses show that the signal self-enhancement happens through two coupled reactions under reducing conditions: (1) 3D bioprobe-based sensitive immuno-detection of analytes and (2) coordinated assembly of free and chemisorbed gold nanoparticles around the 3D bioprobe-analyte-associated complexes, which is followed by the quick generation of apparent optical signals. This advanced one-step-immunoassay was successfully applied to diagnostic assays requiring high accuracy and/or speed, i.e. diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction and hepatitis C through detecting a cardiac protein (troponin I) and anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies in patient sera, indicating that it is applicable to the accurate and rapid detection of both antigen and antibody markers of a wide range of diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16476-16484
Number of pages9
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 14

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Samsung Research Funding Center of Samsung Electronics under Project Number SRFC-MA1502-10.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Signal self-enhancement by coordinated assembly of gold nanoparticles enables accurate one-step-immunoassays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this