This invention pertains to the in vitro detection of proteases using a single peptide-conjugate nanocrescent surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) probes with at least nanomolar sensitivity. The probe enables detection of proteolytic activity in extremely small volume and at low concentration. In certain embodiments the probes comprise an indicator for the detection of an active protease, where the indicator comprises a nanocrescent attached to a peptide, where said peptide comprises a recognition site for the protease and a Raman tag attached to the peptide.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This work was supported by DARPA, NIH Grant R1CA95393, UCSF Prostate Cancer SPORE award (NIH Grant P50 CA89520), and P01 CA72006. This work was performed in part under the auspices of the U.S. Department. of Energy, at the University of California/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The Government of the United States of America has certain rights in this invention.