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Ratiometric fluorescent Si-FITC nanoprobe for immunoassay of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein
Nano Research 2023, 16 (2): 2859-2865
Published: 30 September 2022
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Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the importance of rapid and reliable diagnostic assays for the management of virus transmission. Here, we developed a one-pot hydrothermal method to prepare Si-FITC nanoparticles (NPs) for the fluorescent immunoassay of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleocapsid protein (N protein). The synthesis of Si-FITC NPs did not need post-modification, which addressed the issue of quantum yield reduction during the coupling reaction. Si-FITC NPs showed two distinct peaks, Si fluorescence at λem = 385 nm and FITC fluorescence at λem = 490 nm. In the presence of KMnO4, Si fluorescence was decreased and FITC fluorescence was enhanced. Briefly, in the presence of N protein, catalase (CAT)-linked secondary antibody/reporter antibody/N protein/capture antibody immunocomplexes were formed on microplates. Subsequently, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and Si-FITC NPs/KMnO4 were injected into the microplate together. The decomposition of H2O2 by CAT resulted in remaining of KMnO4, which changed the fluorescence intensity ratio of Si-FITC NPs. The fluorescence intensity ratio correlated significantly with the N protein concentration ranging from 0.02 to 50.00 ng/mL, and the detection limit was 0.003 ng/mL, which was more sensitive than the commercial ELISA kit with a detection limit of 0.057 ng/mL. The N protein concentration can be accurately determined in human serum. Furthermore, the COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients were distinguishable by this method. Therefore, the ratiometric fluorescent immunoassay can be used for SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosis with a high sensitivity and selectivity.

Research Article Issue
Ratiometric fluorescence immunoassay of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein via Si-FITC nanoprobe-based inner filter effect
Nano Research 2023, 16 (4): 5383-5390
Published: 17 August 2022
Abstract PDF (6.2 MB) Collect
Downloads:113

The global pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has necessitated rapid, easy-to-use, and accurate diagnostic methods to monitor the virus infection. Herein, a ratiometric fluorescence enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed using Si-fluorescein isothiocyanate nanoparticles (FITC NPs) for detecting SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein. Si-FITC NPs were prepared by a one-pot hydrothermal method using 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES)-FITC as the Si source. This method did not need post-modification and avoided the reduction in quantum yield and stability. The p-nitrophenyl (pNP) produced by the alkaline phosphatase (ALP)-mediated hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl phosphate (pNPP) could quench Si fluorescence in Si-FITC NPs via the inner filter effect. In ELISA, an immunocomplex was formed by the recognition of capture antibody/N protein/reporter antibody. ALP-linked secondary antibody bound to the reporter antibody and induced pNPP hydrolysis to specifically quench Si fluorescence in Si-FITC NPs. The change in fluorescence intensity ratio could be used for detecting N protein, with a wide linearity range (0.01–10.0 and 50–300 ng/mL) and low detection limit (0.002 ng/mL). The concentration of spiked SARS-CoV-2 N protein could be determined accurately in human serum. Moreover, this proposed method can accurately distinguish coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and non-COVID-19 patient samples. Therefore, this simple, sensitive, and accurate method can be applied for the early diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection.

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