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ACS Nano. 2007 Nov;1(4):355-61. doi: 10.1021/nn700141n.

Peptide-modified optical filters for detecting protease activity.

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School of Chemistry, Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia.


The organic derivatization of silicon-based nanoporous photonic crystals is presented as a method to immobilize peptides for the detection of protease enzymes in solution. A narrow-line-width rugate filter, a one-dimensional photonic crystal, is fabricated that exhibits a high-reflectivity optical resonance that is sensitive to small changes in the refractive index at the pore walls. To immobilize peptide in the pore of the photonic crystal, the hydrogen-terminated silicon surface was first modified with the alkene 10-succinimidyl undecenoate via hydrosilylation. The monolayer with the succinimide ester moiety at the distal end served the dual function of protecting the underlying silicon from oxidation as well as providing a surface suitable for subsequent derivatization with amines. The surface was further modified with 1-aminohexa(ethylene glycol) (EG(6)) to resist nonspecific adsorption of proteins common in complex biological samples. The distal hydroxyl of the EG(6) is activated using the solid-phase coupling reagent disuccinimidyl carbonate for selective immobilization of peptides as protease recognition elements. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis reveals high activation and coupling efficiency at each stage of the functionalization. Exposure of the peptide-modified crystals to the protease subtilisin in solution causes a change in the refractive index, resulting in a shift of the resonance to shorter wavelengths, indicating cleavage of organic material within the pores. The lowest detected concentration of enzyme was 37 nM (7.4 pmol in 200 microL).

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