Aptamer-targeted gold nanoparticles as molecular-specific contrast agents for reflectance imaging

David J. Javier, Nitin Nitin, Matthew Levy, Andrew Ellington, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1312
Number of pages4
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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