Peptide Nanocarriers for the Detection of Heavy Metal Ions Using Resistive Pulse Sensing

Heaton, Imogen, and Mark Platt. "Peptide Nanocarriers for Detection of Heavy Metal Ions Using Resistive Pulse Sensing." Analytical chemistry 91, no. 17 (2019): 11291-11296.


The use of nanocarriers within resistive pulse sensing facilitates the detection and quantification of analytes. To date the field has been dominated by polyionic carriers or nanomaterials. Together they combine the recognition elements of a ligand with a stable support, facilitating the sample handling, analysis times, and multiplex detection. Here we develop the use of peptide-functionalized superparamagnetic nanocarriers to extract and quantify metal ions in solution. The interaction between nickel and the peptide ligand is measured as a change in translocation velocity of the carrier. The magnitude of change is proportional to the concentration of the metal ions in solution. Unlike DNA aptamers where a change in the tertiary structure and the folding of the polyanionic backbone influences the carrier velocity, the peptides here had a lower net charge under the assay conditions. To try and enhance the signal we engineered charged groups within the peptide to explore the effects on the signal. In all cases the metal ion binding dominated the velocity of the carrier. The assay was shown to work across 3 orders of magnitude and can detect Ni2+ in the presence of some other heavy metal ions. We demonstrate this by quantifying Ni2+ in both tap and pond water. The work allows for future multiplexed sensing strategies using both peptides and DNA aptamers in resistive pulse sensors.”

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