Nanozyme Sensor Precisely Detects Proteins for Disease Diagnosis

Novel research has emerged from the journal, ACS Applied Materials Interfaces, for the application of early disease diagnosis. This utilizes a simple and easy method involving programmable metal-nanoparticle (NP)-supported nanozymes (MNNs) as artificial receptors for the accurate identification of multiple proteins and oral bacteria.

Nanozyme Sensor Precisely Detects Proteins for Disease Diagnosis

Study: Metal-Nanoparticle-Supported Nanozyme-Based Colorimetric Sensor Array for Precise Identification of Proteins and Oral Bacteria. Image Credit: angellodeco/

Protein Detection in Disease Diagnosis 

The need for an early diagnosis of diseases is an integral part of advancing biomedical research, to provide the most appropriate and effective treatment.

Traditionally the use of the ‘lock-and-key’ sensing strategy for protein analysis is widely used for precise detection of proteins and while this method has benefits such as high sensitivity, there are also limitations.

The disadvantages of this method consist of it requiring specific receptors that have a high affinity to particular proteins, which can involve high expense as well as a higher level of labor due to multiple antibodies being used for multiprotein assays.

The drawbacks of this method have led researchers to turn to array-based pattern recognition, which is considered to be a powerful device and platform to identify diverse analytes. Here, group discrimination, as opposed to individual analysis, is utilized.

Array-Based Pattern Recognition

The use of various nanomaterial-based sensor arrays has been recently used to demonstrate its discriminative nature towards detecting a range of analytes including metal ions, proteins and organic compounds.

Additionally, the traction of nanozymes within nanotechnology, which have enzyme-like activities, have been used for in vitro detection as well as tumor therapy; these have also been used as non-specific receptors for cross-reactive sensor arrays for the application of pattern recognition.

The challenge with this strategy includes designing nanomaterials with remarkable surface properties that can have diverse interactions with diagnostic and therapeutic targets.

To this end, the researchers of this study have developed a simple and easy method of preparing a series of nanozymes with various metal nanoparticles (NPs) used as encoders, that were located on the surface of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) on polypyrrole nanotubes.

The use of metal nanoparticles on a solid support such as MoS2, enables the generation of unlimited sensing elements. Two-dimensional MoS2 can be considered to be a strong support candidate for this role as it has a large surface area and high physicochemical characteristics, especially with its peroxidase-mimicking activities.

The team chose three metals within their proof-of-concept study, such as gold, silver and palladium, which were deposited on the PPy@MoS2 nanocomposites as colorimetric probes and formed a three-element cross-reactive sensor array.

Ultimately, this research utilizing metal-nanoparticle-supported nanozymes was able to discriminate and detect 11 proteins that had unique fingerprint-like patterns at 250nM concentration; this method was deemed to have a sufficient sensitivity level and could determine individual proteins with detection to a nanomolar level.

Two highly similar hemoglobin particles from different species could also be accurately identified as well as five oral bacteria.

Future Outlook

This research, which consisted of metal-nanoparticle-supported nanozymes, was able to accurately detect multiple bioanalytes through unique identification patterns that mimicked the natural olfactory and gustatory system.

Additionally, this method overcame the limitations of the traditional ‘lock-and-key’ recognition strategy and increased the analysis of various analytes.

The use of various elements and components that can be used for the metal nanoparticles also enables this method to be versatile and so is not limited to the supply of receptors available.

As this approach is able to analyze a wide range of analytes with accuracy, as well as being easy and less laborious, it could help to advance various biomedical applications.

This nanotechnology method can be used to increase the detection of early diseases and biomarkers, which can then guide treatment and patient management; however, further testing is required to harness the full potential of this sensor array. 


Lu, Z., Lu, N., Xiao, Y., Zhang, Y., Tang, Z. and Zhang, M., (2022) Metal-Nanoparticle-Supported Nanozyme-Based Colorimetric Sensor Array for Precise Identification of Proteins and Oral Bacteria. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces,. Available at:

Further Reading

Huang, Y., Ren, J. and Qu, X., (2019) Nanozymes: Classification, Catalytic Mechanisms, Activity Regulation, and Applications. Chemical Reviews, 119(6), pp.4357-4412. Available at:

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Marzia Khan

Written by

Marzia Khan

Marzia Khan is a lover of scientific research and innovation. She immerses herself in literature and novel therapeutics which she does through her position on the Royal Free Ethical Review Board. Marzia has a MSc in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine as well as a BSc in Biomedical Sciences. She is currently working in the NHS and is engaging in a scientific innovation program.


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