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Langmuir. 2009 Feb 17;25(4):2504-7. doi: 10.1021/la803870v.

Continuous colorimetric assay for acetylcholinesterase and inhibitor screening with gold nanoparticles.

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Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Organic Solids Laboratory, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China.


We report herein a new colorimetric assay method for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and its inhibitor screening by making use of the following facts: (1) the aggregation of gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) results in the red-shift of the plasmon absorption due to interparticle plasmon interactions and (2) AChE can catalyze the hydrolysis of acetylthiocholine into thiocholine which can induce the aggregation of Au-NPs. With this convenient method, the activity of AChE with a concentration as low as 0.6 mU/mL can be assayed. Moreover, this assay method is also useful for screening inhibitors of AChE. Given its simplicity and easy-operation, this method may extend to high-throughput screening of AChE inhibitors and relevant drug discovery.

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