May 4, 2010
SERS for diagnostic applications
Raman spectroscopy enhanced by nano-sized gold structures has been used by researchers in Italy to detect prion protein – PrPc – and to monitor in vivo the PrPC-Cu(II) interaction, giving reliable indications about the conformational status of PrPc protein in different cell lines.
Combined green hydrothermal synthesis and thermal annealing yields the optimal SERS substrates for amplifying the Raman signal preserving the condition of biological material.
The scientists have analysed the binding of copper ions to PrPC molecules on living cultured cells and highlighted a close relationship between the expression of prion protein and the intensity of Raman peaks.
The study points towards the possibility of unravelling and quantifying prion protein expression in complex biological samples by the application of an external stimulus, which has the potential to both speed up and reduce the cost of detecting prion protein.
A full description of the work can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.
About the author
This work, performed at the University of Salento, Italy, is based on an innovative platform that integrates high-tech methodologies (modelling of nanostructures, electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy) with proteomics applications in neurodegenerative diseases. Daniela Manno, Antonio Serra and Michele Maffia are associated professors in experimental physics, applied physics and physiology, respectively; Emanuela Filippo and Antonia Rizzello are PhD researchers in physical chemistry and eco-physiology, respectively; Roberta Fiore and Emanuela Urso are Masters researchers in biotechnological science and biological science, respectively.