Oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticle networks for detection of Cryptosporidium parvum heat shock protein 70 mRNA

David J. Javier, Alejandro Castellanos-Gonzalez, Shannon E. Weigum, A. Clinton White, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We report on a novel strategy for the detection of mRNA targets derived from Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts by the use of oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles are functionalized with oligonucleotides which are complementary to unique sequences present on the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) DNA/RNA target. The results indicate that the presence of HPS70 targets of increasing complexity causes the formation of oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticle networks which can be visually monitored via a simple colorimetric readout measured by a total internal reflection imaging setup. Furthermore, the induced expression of HSP70 mRNA in Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts via a simple heat shock process provides nonenzymatic amplification such that the HSP70 mRNA derived from as few as 5 × 103 purified C. parvum oocysts was successfully detected. Taken together, these results support the use of oligonucleotide-gold nanoparticles for the molecular diagnosis of cryptosporidiosis, offering new opportunities for the further development of point-of-care diagnostic assays with low-cost, robust reagents and simple colorimetric detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4060-4066
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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