Functionalised RNA Aptamer Nanoparticles for Ultra-trace Detection of Target Analytes in Biological Samples via SERS
Analytical biosensors providing high specificity and ultra-trace detection limits for target analytes of interest are in great demand. Biosensors integrate three fundamental components for detecting bioactive molecules from biological samples. They are: recognition elements for molecular recognition and complimentary binding of the target analyte, transducers for signal transduction and amplification, and a detector for measuring and translating the signal. To date, aptamers as recognition elements have been selected with high affinity and specificity against a wide range of target analytes. Nanoparticle implemented as substrates, scaffolds and transducers in biosensors improve efficiency, sensitivity and component miniaturisation. As a detector, Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) can provide ultra-trace detection of bioactive molecules from the three classes of target analytes – small molecule, protein, and cell-surface receptor (whole cell). This research proposes the combined implementation of aptamers, nanoparticles and SERS as a highly specific, non-destructive, quantitative, label-free, ultra-trace target analyte detection method capable of overcoming the limitations associated with current detection methods for the analysis of analytes within biological samples.