Early detection of the protein marker troponin I in patients with a higher risk of acute myocardial infarction can reduce the risk of death from heart attacks. Most troponin assays are currently based on the conventional enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and have detection limits in the nano- and picomolar range. Here, we show that by combining viral nanoparticles, which are engineered to have dual affinity for troponin antibodies and nickel, with three-dimensional nanostructures including nickel nanohairs, we can detect troponin levels in human serum samples that are six to seven orders of magnitude lower than those detectable using conventional enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. The viral nanoparticle helps to orient the antibodies for maximum capture of the troponin markers. High densities of antibodies on the surfaces of the nanoparticles and nanohairs lead to greater binding of the troponin markers, which significantly enhances detection sensitivities. The nickel nanohairs are re-useable and can reproducibly differentiate healthy serum from unhealthy ones. We expect other viral nanoparticles to form similar highly sensitive diagnostic assays for a variety of other protein markers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics