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Viruslike Element-Tagged Nanoparticle Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry Signal Multiplier: Membrane Biomarker Mediated Cell Counting

Yuan, Rong, Ge, Fuchun, Liang, Yong, Zhou, Yang, Yang, Limin, Wang, Qiuquan
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.8 pp. 4948-4952
atomic absorption spectrometry, bacteriophages, biomarkers, early diagnosis, folate receptors, isotope dilution technique, multipliers, nanoparticles, neoplasm cells, neoplasms
Although rare cancerous cells are considered as more objective indications for a precise early diagnosis of cancers, accurate counting of them still is a spirited challenge. We reported a signal multiplication strategy by constructing element-tagged viruslike nanoparticles (VLNPs) with a precise number of atoms for a membrane biomarker mediated higher sensitive cell counting using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). Typical bacteriophage MS2 was exemplified to demonstrate the effectiveness of the element-tagged VLNPs as signal multipliers. Dibenzylcyclooctyne-poly(ethylene glycol)-folate (DBCO-PEG-FA) and DOTA-Eu complex tag modified (FA-PEG)₆₉-MS2-(DOTA-Eu)₉₆₅ targeted the folate receptor (FR) on KB cells as low as subzeptomole FRs could be quantified by ¹⁵³Eu-species unspecific isotope dilution ICPMS, allowing us to be able to count at least 5 KB cells. While more than 2197 KB cells were needed to give a significant ICPMS signal using FA-PEG-DOTA-Eu, demonstrating more than 2 orders of magnitude signal multiplication and resulting in total 4.0 × 10⁸ times signal amplification relative to one KB cell. We believe that such a signal multiplication strategy can be expanded to quantify and count other membrane biomarkers and their host cells using various VLNPs modified with different kinds and precise numbers of elements and guiding groups. In this way, prescribed multiples of signal amplification can be realized for a more accurate ICPMS-based quantitative bioanalysis because targeted molecules/cells in a complicated biological system might exist in orders of magnitude wide concentration range.