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ABSTRACT: Immunoassays using nanomaterials have been rapidly developed for the analysis of multiple biomolecules. Highly sensitive and biocompatible surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy-active nanomaterials have been used for biomolecule analysis by many research groups in order to overcome intrinsic problems of conventional immunoassays. We used fluorescent surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopic dots (F-SERS dots) to detect biomolecules in this study. The F-SERS dots are composed of silver nanoparticle-embedded silica nanospheres, organic Raman tagging materials, and fluorescent dyes. The F-SERS dots demonstrated highly sensitive, selective, and multifunctional characteristics for multiplex targeting, tracking, and imaging of cellular and molecular events in the living organism. We successfully applied F-SERS dots for the detection of three cellular proteins, including CD34, Sca-1, and SP-C. These proteins are simultaneously expressed in bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs) in the murine lung. We analyzed the relative expression ratios of each protein in BASCs since external standards were used to evaluate SERS intensity in tissue. Quantitative comparisons of multiple protein expression in tissue were first attempted using SERS-encoded nanoprobes. Our results suggested that immunoassays using F-SERS dots offered significant increases in sensitivity and selectivity. Such immunoassays may serve as the primary next-generation labeling technologies for the simultaneous analysis of multiple biomolecules.
Analytical Chemistry 02/2009; 81(3):1008-15. · 5.83 Impact Factor