Aptamer-Targeted Gold Nanoparticles As Molecular-Specific Contrast Agents for Reflectance Imaging
Javier, David J.; Nitin, Nitin; Levy, Matthew; Ellington, Andrew; Richards-Kortum, Rebecca
Targeted metallic nanoparticles have shown potential as a platform for development of molecular-specific contrast agents. Aptamers have recently been demonstrated as ideal candidates for molecular targeting applications. In this study, we investigated the development of aptamer-based gold nanoparticles as contrast agents, using aptamers as targeting agents and gold nanoparticles as imaging agents. We devised a novel conjugation approach using an extended aptamer design where the extension is complementary to an oligonucleotide sequence attached to the surface of the gold nanoparticles. The chemical and optical properties of the aptamer−gold conjugates were characterized using size measurements and oligonucleotide quantitation assays. We demonstrate this conjugation approach to create a contrast agent designed for detection of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), obtaining reflectance images of PSMA(+) and PSMA(−) cell lines treated with the anti-PSMA aptamer−gold conjugates. This design strategy can easily be modified to incorporate multifunctional agents as part of a multimodal platform for reflectance imaging applications.