Telomerase has attracted much attention as a universal cancer biomarker because telomerase is overexpressed in more than 85% of human cancer cells while suppressed in normal somatic cells. Since a strong association exists between telomerase activity and human cancers, the development of effective telomerase activity assay is critically important. Here, a nanogap-rich Au nanowire (NW) surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensor is reported for detection of telomerase activity in various cancer cells and tissues. The nanogap-rich Au NWs are constructed by deposition of nanoparticles on single-crystalline Au NWs and provided highly reproducible SERS spectra. The telomeric substrate (TS) primer-attached nanogap-rich Au NWs can detect telomerase activity through SERS measurement after the elongation of TS primers, folding into G-quadruplex structures, and intercalation of methylene blue. This sensor enables us to detect telomerase activity from various cancer cell lines with a detection limit of 0.2 cancer cells mL−1. Importantly, the nanogap-rich Au NW sensor can diagnose gastric and breast cancer tissues accurately. The nanogap-rich Au NW sensors show strong SERS signals only in the presence of tumor tissues excised from 16 tumor-bearing mice, while negligible signals in the presence of heated tumor tissues or normal tissues. It is anticipated that nanogap-rich Au NW SERS sensors can be used for a universal cancer diagnosis and further biomedical applications including a diverse biomarker sensing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
G.E. and H.K. contributed equally to this work. This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant (NRF-2017R1A2B4010073) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), Global Frontier Project (H-GUARD_2014M3A6B2060489 and H-GUARD_2014M3A6B2060507) through the Center for BioNano Helath-Guard funded by MSIP, Public Welfare & Safety Research Program (NRF-2012M3A2A1051682) through the NRF of Korea funded by MSIP, and KRIBB initiative Research Program. Prof. Woo Lee and Dr. Jungho Shin at the materials genome center (KRISS, Daejeon) assisted the sputter coating-related experiments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics