Lectin-conjugated nanotags with high SERS stability: selective probes for glycans

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Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanotags functionalized with lectins as the biological recognition element can be used to target the carbohydrate portion of carbohydrate-carrying molecules (glycoconjugates). An investigation of the optical stability of such functionalized SERS nanotags is an essential initial step before future application and quantification of surface glycan biomarkers on cells and extracellular vesicles. Herein, we report an innovative approach to evaluate the SERS stability of lectin-conjugated nanotags by investigating any possible interfering lectin–lectin interactions in a mixture of different lectin-conjugated SERS nanotags, as well as an assessment of lectin–glycan interaction by mixing wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)-conjugated SERS nanotags with different glycoproteins. No lectin cross-reactivity was found in the mixture of lectin-conjugated SERS nanotags, evidenced by the constant SERS intensity. Additionally, the results showed that the lectins conjugated to SERS nanotags retain their ability to interact with glycans, as evidenced by the changes in the nanotag color and extinction spectra. Their SERS intensity remained constant as supported by finite-element method (FEM) simulation results, demonstrating a high SERS stability and selectivity of lectin-conjugated nanotags towards multiplex applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1774-1783
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date13 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024


  • Glycosylation
  • Recognition
  • Nanoprobes
  • Binding


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