Glutathione (GSH) is a useful biomarker in the development, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. However, most of the reported GSH biosensors are expensive, time-consuming and often require complex sample treatment, which limit its biological applications. Herein, a nanobiosensor for the detection of GSH using folic acid-functionalized reduced graphene oxide-modified BSA gold nanoclusters (FA-rGO-BSA/AuNCs) based on the fluorescence quenching interactions is presented. Firstly, a facile and optimized protocol for the fabrication of BSA/AuNCs is developed. Functionalization of rGO with folic acid is performed using EDC/NHS cross-linking reagents, and their interaction after loading with BSA/AuNCs is demonstrated. The formation of FA-rGO, BSA/AuNCs and FA-rGO-BSA/AuNCs are confirmed by the state-of-art characterization techniques. Finally, a fluorescence turn-off sensing strategy is developed using the as-synthesized FA-rGO-BSA/AuNCs for the detection of GSH. The nanobiosensor revealed an excellent sensing performance for the detection of GSH with high sensitivity and desirable selectivity over other potential interfering species. The fluorescence quenching is linearly proportional to the concentration of GSH between 0 and 1.75 µM, with a limit of detection of 0.1 µM under the physiological pH conditions (pH 7.4). Such a sensitive nanobiosensor paves the way to fabricate a "turn-on" or "turn-off" fluorescent sensor for important biomarkers in cancer cells, presenting potential nanotheranostic applications in biological detection and clinical diagnosis.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.