Ready. Set. GO!

Written by Dr Lee Barrett.

Graphene oxide (GO) is a versatile material with applications ranging from electronics to energy storage and biosensors. As a biosensing substrate, GO has many favorable attributes such as low cost, high signal-to-noise ratio, and the ability to efficiently quench fluorescence.

Scheme for the GO-aptamer based sensor for detection of thrombin.

This ability to quench fluorescence has inspired a range of biosensors using GO and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) for the sensitive detection of proteins using labelled probes, such as aptamers. However, the target proteins in such assays can non-specifically adsorb onto the surface of GO, thereby reducing the sensitivity.

To address this, Gao and co-workers implemented the use of polyethylene glycol (PEG) to prevent the non-specific adsorption of thrombin onto GO while implementing an aptamer-binding assay.  The authors report that the detection limit could be improved by optimizing the GO:PEG concentration. This manuscript helps to establish GO as promising tool in the biomedical and biotechnology fields.

Highly sensitive detection for proteins using graphene oxide-aptamer based sensors
Li Gao, Qin Li, Raoqi Li, Lirong Yan, Yang Zhou, Keping Chen and Haixia Shi
Nanoscale, 2015, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C5NR01187F

Dr Lee Barrett is a guest web writer for the Nanoscale blog. Lee is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology at the University of Strathclyde. His research is currently focused on the development of nanoparticle-based sensors and surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). Follow him on Twitter @L_Bargie.

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