Nuclear Science and Techniques

《核技术》(英文版) ISSN 1001-8042 CN 31-1559/TL     2019 Impact factor 1.556

Nuclear Science and Techniques ›› 2018, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (1): 5 doi: 10.1007/s41365-017-0348-y


Protein-mimicking nanoparticle (Protmin)-based nanosensor for intracellular analysis of metal ions

Dan Zhu 1,2 • Dong-Xia Zhao 2 • Jia-Xuan Huang 2 • Jiang Li 1 • Xiao-Lei Zuo 1 • Li-Hua Wang 1 • Chun-Hai Fan 1   

  1. 1 Division of Physical Biology and Bioimaging Center, Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China
    2 Key Laboratory for Organic Electronics and Information Displays, Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Jiangsu National Synergetic Innovation Center for Advanced Materials (SICAM), Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biosensor, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Contact: Chun-Hai Fan
  • Supported by:

    This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21390414 and 21605087), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. QYZDJ-SSW-SLH031), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation funded project (No. BX201700123), the Scientific Research Foundation of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (No. NY215058), and the Natural Science Fund for Colleges and Universities in Jiangsu Province (16KJB150032).

Dan Zhu, Dong-Xia Zhao, Jia-Xuan Huang, Jiang Li, Xiao-Lei Zuo, Li-Hua Wang, Chun-Hai Fan. Protein-mimicking nanoparticle (Protmin)-based nanosensor for intracellular analysis of metal ions.Nuclear Science and Techniques, 2018, 29(1): 5     doi: 10.1007/s41365-017-0348-y


In this study, we designed and applied protein-mimicking nanoparticles (Protmin) as an intracellular nanosensor for in vivo detection of lead ions (Pb2+). Monodispersed gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of 13 nm in diameter were modified using poly-adenine-tailed Pb2+-specific 8–17 DNAzyme to form a spherical and functional Protmin. Substrate strands modified with a fluorophore at the 5′ end and a quencher at the 3′ end were bound to DNAzyme. Pb2+ facilitated cleavage of DNAzyme to release the fluorophore-modified short strands to generate fluorescence. We observed rapid kinetics of the Protmin nanosensor, for which the typical assay time was 10 min. Further, we demonstrated the Protmin nanosensor could readily enter living cells and respond to Pb2+ in the intracellular environment. The broad of range of Protmin designs will be useful for advancing biological and medical applications.

Key words: Protmin, Nanosensor, Poly-adenine, Lead ion, Intracellular detection