Gold nanoparticles-based colorimetric assay for cathepsin B activity and the efficiency of its inhibitors

Chan Jin Kim, Dong Ik Lee, Cheonghee Kim, Kangtaek Lee, Chang Ha Lee, Ik Sung Ahn

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Cathepsin B has been suggested to be a prognostic marker of melanoma, glioma, and a variety of cancers such as brain, breast, colon, esophageal, gastric, lung, ovarian, and thyroid cancers. Cathepsin B inhibitors have also been considered as anticancer drug candidates; hence, there has been a growing need for a probe which enables the selective and simple detection of cathepsin B and its inhibitors. For the purpose of selective assay, a cathepsin B-specific substrate, N,N′-diBoc-dityrosine-glycine-phenylalanine-3-(methylthio) propylamine (DBDY-Gly-Phe-MTPA) was synthesized in this study. Phe-MTPA, which was produced via cathepsin B-catalyzed hydrolysis of DBDY-Gly-Phe-MTPA, allowed aggregation of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) leading to a color change from red to blue. When tested for cathepsins B, L, and S, this assay method exhibited AuNPs color change only in reaction to cathepsin B. The limits of detection for cathepsin B was 10 and 5 nM in the 1 and 2 h hydrolysis reactions, respectively. The efficiency of cathepsin B inhibitors such as leupeptin, antipain, and chymostatin was easily compared by the degree of color change. Moreover, IC 50 values of leupeptin, antipain, and chymostatin were found to be 0.11, 0.48, and 1.78 μM, respectively, which were similar to the results of previous studies. Therefore the colorimetric assay of cathepsin B and cathepsin B inhibitors using DBDY-Gly-Phe-MTPA and AuNPs allowed not only the selective but also the simple assay of cathepsin B and its inhibitors, which was possible with the naked eye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3825-3833
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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