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Nanosensors to Detect Protease Activity In Vivo for Noninvasive Diagnostics

Published: July 16th, 2018



1Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech College of Engineering and Emory School of Medicine, 2Parker H. Petit Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience, 3Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, Georgia Tech, 4Integrated Cancer Research Center, Georgia Tech, 5The Georgia Immunoengineering Consortium, Emory University and Georgia Tech

Proteases are multi-functional enzymes that specialize in the hydrolysis of peptide-bonds and control broad biological processes including homeostasis and allostasis. Moreover, dysregulated protease activity drives pathogenesis and is a functional biomarker of diseases such as cancer; therefore, the ability to detect protease activity in vivo may provide clinically relevant information for biomedical diagnostics. The goal of this protocol is to create nanosensors that probe for protease activity in vivo by producing a quantifiable signal in urine. These protease nanosensors consist of two components: a nanoparticle and substrate. The nanoparticle functions to increase circulation half-life and substrate delivery to target disease sites. The substrate is a short peptide sequence (6-8 AA), which is designed to be specific to a target protease or group of proteases. The substrate is conjugated to the surface of the nanoparticle and is terminated by a reporter, such as a fluorescent marker, for detection. As dysregulated proteases cleave the peptide substrate, the reporter is filtered into urine for quantification as a biomarker of protease activity. Herein we describe construction of a nanosensor for matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), which is associated with tumor progression and metastasis, for detection of colorectal cancer in a mouse model.


Keywords Nanosensors

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