Organic Electrochemical Transistors for the Detection of Cell Surface Glycans

Lizhen Chen, Ying Fu, Naixiang Wang, Anneng Yang, Yuanzhe Li, Jie Wu, Huangxian Ju, Feng Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Cell surface glycans play critical roles in diverse biological processes, such as cell-cell communication, immunity, infection, development, and differentiation. Their expressions are closely related to cancer growth and metastasis. This work demonstrates an organic electrochemical transistor (OECT)-based biosensor for the detection of glycan expression on living cancer cells. Herein, mannose on human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) as the target glycan model, poly dimethyl diallyl ammonium chloride-multiwall carbon nanotubes (PDDA-MWCNTs) as the loading interface, concanavalin A (Con A) with active mannose binding sites, aptamer and horseradish peroxidase co-immobilized gold nanoparticles (HRP-aptamer-Au NPs) as specific nanoprobes are used to fabricate the OECT biosensor. In this strategy, PDDA-MWCNT interfaces can enhance the loading of Con A, and the target cells can be captured through Con A via active mannose binding sites. Thus, the expression of cell surface can be reflected by the amount of cells captured on the gate. Specific nanoprobes are introduced to the captured cells to produce an OECT signal because of the reduction of hydrogen peroxide catalyzed by HRP conjugated on Au nanoparticles, while the aptamer on nanoprobes can selectively recognize the MCF-7 cells. It is reasonable that more target cells are captured on the gate electrode, more HRP-nanoprobes are loaded thus a larger signal response. The device shows an obvious response to MCF-7 cells down to 10 cells/μL and can be used to selectively monitor the change of mannose expression on cell surfaces upon a treatment with the N-glycan inhibitor. The OECT-based biosensor is promising for the analysis of glycan expressions on the surfaces of different types of cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18470-18477
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018


  • aptamer
  • cancer cell
  • glycan
  • nanoprobe
  • organic electrochemical transistor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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