Competitive adsorption on gold nanoparticles for human papillomavirus 16 L1 protein detection by LDI-MS†
The detection of the HPV L1 protein provides information about the infection status of the virus, reflects the replication status of the HPV virus in cervical cells, and helps understand the regression and progress of cervical lesions. Herein, we report a novel laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (LDI MS) method for the sensitive detection of the HPV 16 L1 protein, based on non-covalent competitive adsorption between the HPV 16 L1 aptamer and melamine on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The intensity of the MS signal corresponding to the mass tag shows a linear relationship with the HPV 16 L1 concentration in the range 2–80 ng mL−1, with a limit of detection (LOD) of 58.8 pg mL−1. Using this method, the HPV 16 L1 protein is quantitatively analyzed in both clinical and vaccine samples. The described method is simple and has high sensitivity and good reliability.