Microchimica Acta

, 187:148 | Cite as

Analysis of glycan expression on cell surfaces by using a glassy carbon electrode modified with MnO2 nanosheets and DNA-generated electrochemical current

  • Kejun FengEmail author
  • Fangli Liao
  • Minghui Yang
Short Communication


Electrochemical assay for analysis of cell surface glycan expression is reported. Mannose on human breast cancer cells (type MCF-7) is selected as the glycan model. Gold nanoparticles are modified with binding aptamer for MCF-7 cells and act as electrochemical probe. The analysis of cell surface glycan expression follows a traditional sandwich protocol. Concanavalin A that can specifically recognize mannose is immobilized onto MnO2 nanosheets modified electrode for the capture of MCF-7 cells. Then, the modified gold nanoparticles are immobilized onto the electrode via the binding between MCF-7 cell and aptamer on the gold nanoparticles. The aptamer on the gold nanoparticles reacts with molybdate. More specifically, the reaction of the phosphate backbone of aptamer with molybdate results in the formation of a redox-active molybdophosphate precipitate and generates an electrochemical current. The current intensity at 0.20 V (vs. Ag/AgCl) is recorded to test the linear range of the assay. The assay shows an obvious response to MCF-7 cells with a wide linear range from 1.0 × 103 to 1.0 × 106 cells mL−1 and a limit of detection down to 300 cells mL−1. The assay can be used to selectively monitor the change of mannose expression on cell surfaces upon the treatment with the N-glycan inhibitor.

Graphical abstract

Schematic of an electrochemical assay for analysis of cell surface glycan expression of MCF-7 cancer cells


Aptamer Concanavalin A Gold nanoparticle Mannose Molybdate 



The authors thank the support of this work by the Program for Innovative Research Team of Huizhou University and the Hunan Provincial Science and Technology Plan Project, China (no. 2016TP1007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

604_2019_4084_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemistry and Materials EngineeringHuizhou UniversityHuizhouChina
  2. 2.College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Efficient and Clean Utilization of Manganese ResourcesCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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