Prion protein detection using nanomechanical resonator arrays and secondary mass labeling

Madhukar Varshney, Philip S. Waggoner, Christine P. Tan, Keith Aubin, Richard A. Montagna, Harold G. Craighead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Nanomechanical resonators have shown potential application for mass sensing and have been used to detect a variety of biomolecules. In this study, a dynamic resonance-based technique was used to detect prion proteins (PrP), which in conformationally altered forms are known to cause neurodegenerative diseases in animals as well as humans. Antibodies and nanoparticles were used as mass labels to increase the mass shift and thus amplify the frequency shift signal used in PrP detection. A sandwich assay was used to immobilize PrP between two monoclonal antibodies, one of which was conjugated to the resonator's surface while the other was either used alone or linked to the nanoparticles as a mass label. Without additional mass labeling, PrP was not detected at concentrations below 20 μg/mL. In the presence of secondary antibodies the analytical sensitivity was improved to 2 μg/mL. With the use of functionalized nanoparticles, the sensitivity improved an additional 3 orders of magnitude to 2 ng/mL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2148
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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