The mechanisms of colorimetric assays based on aggregation of gold nanoparticles GNPs have been separated into two categories, crosslinking, and noncrosslinking aggregation. The noncrosslinking aggregation has recently been emerging as a simple and rapid mechanism and has been applied to enzymatic activity assays and DNA detection. We report here the detailed study of an enzymatic activity assay for protein kinases based on noncrosslinking aggregation. The principle of the assay is to detect kinase activity by utilizing the difference of coagulating ability of a cationic substrate peptide and its phosphorylated form toward GNPs with anionic surface charge. The critical coagulation concentrations (CCCs) of the peptides were about 103 times lower than those of the metal cations with the same cationic charges. The multivalent coordination bonds of the functional groups of the peptides with the GNP surface will strongly support the adsorption of the peptide on the GNP surface. The effect of the GNP size (10, 20, 40, 60 nm) on the dynamic range of OD before and after aggregation was studied. The dynamic range became a maximum for 20 nm GNP among those studied. The difference of CCC between the phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated peptides was governed by (1) the ratio between the peptide concentration and the surface area concentration of GNP and (2) the net charge of the peptides. When the assay system was applied to the activity assessment of protein kinase A, the dynamic range of OD was largest for 20 nm GNPs. However, when the peptide concentration was lowered, the largest 60 nm GNP was advantageous because of its smaller specific surface area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry