A sensitive magnetic nanoparticle-based immunoassay of phosphorylated acetylcholinesterase using protein cage templated lead phosphate for signal amplification with graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry detection
We developed a new magnetic nanoparticle sandwich-like immunoassay using protein cage nanoparticles (PCN) for signal amplification together with graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) for the quantification of an organophosphorylated acetylcholinesterase adduct (OP-AChE), the biomarker of exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and nerve agents. OP-AChE adducts were firstly captured by titanium dioxide coated magnetic nanoparticles (TiO2-MNPs) from the sample matrixes through metal chelation with phospho-moieties, and then selectively recognized by anti-AChE antibody labeled on PCN which was packed with lead phosphate in its cavity (PCN–anti-AChE). The sandwich-like immunoreaction was performed among TiO2-MNPs, OP-AChE and PCN–anti-AChE to form a TiO2-MNP/OP-AChE/PCN–anti-AChE immunocomplex. The complex could be easily isolated from the sample solution with the help of magnet, and the released lead ions from PCN were detected by GFAAS for the quantification of OP-AChE. Greatly enhanced sensitivity was achieved because PCN increased the amount of metal ions in the cavity of each apoferritin. The proposed immunoassay yielded a linear response over a broad range of OP-AChE concentrations from 0.01 nM to 2 nM, with a detection limit of 2 pM, which has enough sensitivity for monitoring of low-dose exposure to OPs. This new method showed an acceptable stability and reproducibility and was validated with OP-AChE spiked human plasma.