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Specific Detection of Proteins by a Nanobody-Functionalized Nanopore Sensor

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Nanopores are label-free single-molecule analytical tools that show great potential for stochastic sensing of proteins. Here, we described a ClyA nanopore functionalized with different nanobodies through a 5-6 nm DNA linker at its periphery. Ty1, 2Rs15d, 2Rb17c, and nb22 nanobodies were employed to specifically recognize the large protein SARS-CoV-2 Spike, a medium-sized HER2 receptor, and the small protein murine urokinase-type plasminogen activator (muPA), respectively. The pores modified with Ty1, 2Rs15d, and 2Rb17c were capable of stochastic sensing of Spike protein and HER2 receptor, respectively, following a model where unbound nanobodies, facilitated by a DNA linker, move inside the nanopore and provoke reversible blockade events, whereas engagement with the large- and medium-sized proteins outside of the pore leads to a reduced dynamic movement of the nanobodies and an increased current through the open pore. Exploiting the multivalent interaction between trimeric Spike protein and multimerized Ty1 nanobodies enabled the detection of picomolar concentrations of Spike protein. In comparison, detection of the smaller muPA proteins follows a different model where muPA, complexing with the nb22, moves into the pore, generating larger blockage signals. Importantly, the components in blood did not affect the sensing performance of the nanobody-functionalized nanopore, which endows the pore with great potential for clinical detection of protein biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Pages (from-to)9167-9177
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

    Research areas

  • functionalization, general applicability, modularity, nanobodies, nanopores, protein detection, specificity

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