Journal of chromatography. A

Feasibility of asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation as a method for detecting protective antigen by direct recognition of size-increased target-captured nanoprobes.

PMID 26482872


Asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) was evaluated as a potential analytical method for detection of a protective antigen (PA), an Anthrax biomarker. The scheme was based on the recognition of altered AF4 retention through the generation of the size-increased Au nanoparticle probes as a result of PA binding, in which a PA-selective peptide was conjugated on the probe surface. In the visible absorption-based AF4 fractograms, the band position shifted to a longer retention time as the PA concentration increased due to the presence of probe bound with PAs. The shift was insignificant when the concentration was relatively low at 84.3pM. To improve sensitivity, two separate probes conjugated with two different peptides able to bind on different PA epitopes were used together. The band shift then became distinguishable even at 84.3pM of PA sample. The formation of larger PA-probe inter-connected species using the dual-probe system was responsible for the enhanced band shift. In parallel, the feasibility of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) as a potential AF4 detection method was also evaluated. In the off-line SERS fractogram constructed using fractions collected during AF4 separation, a band shift was also observed for the 84.3pM PA sample, and the band intensity was higher when using the dual-probe system. The combination of AF4 and SERS is promising for the detection of PA and will become a potential tool if the reproducibility of SERS measurement is improved.