Direct detection of aptamer-thrombin binding via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Cynthia V. Pagba, Stephen M. Lane, Hansang Cho, Sebastian Wachsmann-Hogiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In this study, we exploit the sensitivity offered by surfaceenhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for the direct detection of thrombin using the thrombin-binding aptamer (TBA) as molecular receptor. The technique utilizes immobilized silver nanoparticles that are functionalized with thiolated thrombin-specific binding aptamer, a 15-mer (5'-GGTTGGTGTGGTTGG-3') quadruplex forming oligonucleotide. In addition to the Raman vibrational bands corresponding to the aptamer and blocking agent, new peaks (mainly at 1140, 1540, and 1635 cm-1) that are characteristic of the protein are observed upon binding of thrombin. These spectral changes are not observed when the aptamer-nanoparticle assembly is exposed to a nonbinding protein such as bovine serum albumin (BSA). This methodology could be further used for the development of label-free biosensors for direct detection of proteins and other molecules of interest for which aptamers are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number047006
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Aptamer
  • Direct detection
  • Label-free assay
  • Quadruplex
  • Surface-enhanced raman scattering
  • Thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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