FRET-based hACE2 receptor mimic peptide conjugated nanoprobe for simple detection of SARS-CoV-2

Byunghoon Kang, Youngjin Lee, Jaewoo Lim, Dongeun Yong, Young Ki Choi, Sun Woo Yoon, Seungbeom Seo, Soojin Jang, Seong Uk Son, Taejoon Kang, Juyeon Jung, Kyu Sun Lee, Myung Hee Kim, Eun Kyung Lim

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has led to a pandemic of acute respiratory disease, namely coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This disease threatens human health and public safety. Early diagnosis, isolation, and prevention are important to suppress the outbreak of COVID 19 given the lack of specific antiviral drugs to treat this disease and the emergence of various variants of the virus that cause breakthrough infections even after vaccine administration. Simple and prompt testing is paramount to preventing further spread of the virus. However, current testing methods, namely RT-PCR, is time-consuming. Binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor plays a pivotal role in host cell entry. In the present study, we developed a hACE2 mimic peptide beacon (COVID19-PEB) for simple detection of SARS-CoV-2 using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer system. COVID19-PEB exhibits minimal fluorescence in its ‘‘closed’’ hairpin structure; however, in the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the specific recognition of the S protein receptor-binding domain by COVID19-PEB causes the beacon to assume an ‘‘open’’ structure that emits strong fluorescence. COVID19-PEB can detect SARS-CoV-2 within 3 h or even 50 min and exhibits strong fluorescence even at low viral concentrations, with a detection limit of 4 × 103 plaque-forming unit/test. Furthermore, in SARS-CoV-2-infected patient samples confirmed using polymerase chain reaction, COVID19-PEB accurately detected the virus. COVID19-PEB could be developed as a rapid and accurate diagnostic tool for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136143
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National R&D Programs through National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea funded by Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) of Korea (NRF-2021M3E5E3080379, NRF-2021M3H4A1A02051048, NRF-2018M3A9E2022821, NRF-2021M3E5E3080844, NRF-2022R1C1C1008815, and NRF-2020R1A2C1010453), Global Frontier Program through Center for BioNano Health-Guard funded by MSIT of Korea (H-GUARD_2014M3A6B2060507 and H-GUARD_2013M3A6B2078950), Technology Development Program for Biological Hazards Management in Indoor Air through Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) funded by Ministry of Environment (ME) of Korea (2021003370003), Industrial Technology Alchemist Program of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea (20012435), Nanomedical Devices Development Program of National Nano Fab Center (CSM2105M101), National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) grant by MSIT (No. CAP20012-000), and the KRIBB Research Initiative Program (1711134081).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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