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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)