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Biosens Bioelectron. 2013 Dec 15;50:14-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2013.06.014. Epub 2013 Jun 18.

Visual detection of prion protein based on color complementarity principle.

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  • 1The Key Laboratory of Luminescence and Real-time Analysis, Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, PR China.


Two complementary colors mixed in a proper proportion will produce a neutral color in the color theory. A novel colorimetric method on basis of the color complementarity principle has been well-established to detect recombinant prion protein (rPrP). We found that a colorless solution appeared after mixing orange CdTe quantum dots (QDs) with green-blue malachite green (MG) because of color complementarity. After the addition of rPrP into the mixed solution, the color changed from colorless to green-blue because rPrP could induce the aggregation of QDs, rapidly. And it could be observed by naked eyes. Based on this phenomenon, we developed a simple assay for visual detection of rPrP. At the same time, we obtained excellent correlation between absorption and concentrations of rPrP from 1 nmol L(-1) to 78 nmol L(-1) with the limit of detection of 0.3 nmol L(-1) (3σ). Moreover, it can be applied to determine rPrP in human serum successfully. Importantly, this assay possesses the advantages of simplicity, rapidity, sensitivity, and selectivity, and shows the potential in the clinical diagnostic test of early prion disease and provides the possibility of preventing the spread of prion diseases.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Aggregation; Color complementary; Prion protein; Quantum dots; Visual detection

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