A highly sensitive aptasensor for detecting cancerous exosomes based on clover-like gold nanoclusters

Exosome-based liquid biopsy technologies play an increasingly prominent role in tumor diagnosis. However, the simple and sensitive method for counting exosomes still faces considerable challenges. Researchers from Nanjing University used the CD63 aptamer-modified DNA tetrahedrons on the gold electrode as recognition elements for the specific capture of exosomes. Partially complementary DNA probes act as bridges linking trapped exosomes and three AuNP-DNA signal probes. This clover-like structure can tackle the recognition and sensitivity issues arising from the undesired AuNP aggregation event. When cancerous exosomes are present in the system, the high accumulation of methylene blue molecules from DNA-AuNP nanocomposites on the surface of the electrode leads to an intense current signal. According to the results, the aptasensor responds to MCF-7 cell-derived exosomes in the concentration range from 1.0 × 103 to 1.0 × 108 particles·μL-1, with the detection limit of 158 particles·μL-1. Furthermore, the aptasensor has been extended to serum samples from breast cancer patients and exhibited excellent specificity. To sum it up, the aptasensor is sensitive, straightforward, less expensive, and fully capable of receiving widespread application in clinics for tumor monitoring.

Cheng W, Duan C, Chen Y, Li D, Hou Z, Yao Y, Jiao J, Xiang Y. (2022) Highly Sensitive Aptasensor for Detecting Cancerous Exosomes Based on Clover-like Gold Nanoclusters. Anal Chem [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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