Ultrasensitive detection of Ebola virus oligonucleotide based on upconversion nanoprobe/nanoporous membrane system

Ming Kiu Tsang, Weiwei Ye, Guojing Wang, Jingming Li, Mo Yang, Jianhua Hao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Ebola outbreaks are currently of great concern, and therefore, development of effective diagnosis methods is urgently needed. The key for lethal virus detection is high sensitivity, since early-stage detection of virus may increase the probability of survival. Here, we propose a luminescence scheme of assay consisting of BaGdF5:Yb/Er upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) conjugated with oligonucleotide probe and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) linked with target Ebola virus oligonucleotide. As a proof of concept, a homogeneous assay was fabricated and tested, yielding a detection limit at picomolar level. The luminescence resonance energy transfer is ascribed to the spectral overlapping of upconversion luminescence and the absorption characteristics of AuNPs. Moreover, we anchored the UCNPs and AuNPs on a nanoporous alumina (NAAO) membrane to form a heterogeneous assay. Importantly, the detection limit was greatly improved, exhibiting a remarkable value at the femtomolar level. The enhancement is attributed to the increased light-matter interaction throughout the nanopore walls of the NAAO membrane. The specificity test suggested that the nanoprobes were specific to Ebola virus oligonucleotides. The strategy combining UCNPs, AuNPs, and NAAO membrane provides new insight into low-cost, rapid, and ultrasensitive detection of different diseases. Furthermore, we explored the feasibility of clinical application by using inactivated Ebola virus samples. The detection results showed great potential of our heterogeneous design for practical application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-605
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2016


  • Biosensor
  • Ebola virus RNA
  • LRET
  • Nanoprobe
  • Upconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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