Fluorescent polymer dots and graphene oxide based nanocomplex for “off-on” detection of metalloproteinase-9
Numerous studies have demonstrated that cancer-related matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) is an ideal biomarker for cancer diagnosis. However, most MMP-9 detection methods are expensive and time-consuming, and more convenient and specific MMP-9 detection methods are needed both clinically and in research. In the present study, peptide-linked polymer dots were assembled onto a graphene oxide surface to construct a graphene oxide-peptide-polymer dots (GO-Pep-Pdots) nanocomplex for sensitive, rapid, and accurate detection of MMP-9. In the absence of MMP-9, the nanocomplex was in an “off” state, whereas in the presence of MMP-9, the nanocomplex was turned “on”, resulting in the emission of a fluores-cence signal that linearly correlated with MMP-9 concentration. The limit of detection of the nanocomplex was 3.75 ng/mL, lower than most methods. This method was successfully verified by detecting MMP-9 in clinical serum samples of prostate cancer. The results suggest that this protease nanocomplex is generic and can be adopted to respond to other proteases by selecting specific peptides with suitable cleavage sites in clinic.