Detection of lysyl oxidase activity in tumor extracellular matrix using peptide-functionalized gold nanoprobes

Han Young Kim, Mihee Jo, Ju A. La, Youngjin Choi, Eun Chul Cho, Su Hee Kim, Youngmee Jung, Kwangmeyung Kim, Ju Hee Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


High LOX levels in the tumor microenvironment causes the cross-linking of extracellular matrix components and increases the stiffness of tumor tissue. Thus, LOX plays an important role in tumorigenesis and in lowering the tumor response to anticancer drugs. Despite comprehensive efforts to identify the roles of LOX in the tumor microenvironment, sensitive and accurate detection methods have not yet been established. Here, we suggest the use of gold nanoparticles functionalized with LOX-sensitive peptides (LS-AuNPs) that aggregate upon exposure to LOX, resulting in a visual color change. LOX-sensitive peptides (LS-peptides) contain lysine residues that are converted to allysine in the presence of LOX, which is highly reactive and binds to adjacent allysine, resulting in the aggregation of the AuNPs. We demonstrated that the synthesized LS-AuNPs are capable of detecting LOX sensitively, specifically both in vitro and in the tissue extract. Moreover, the suggested LS-AuNP-based assay is more sensitive than commonly employed assays or commercially available kits. Therefore, the LS-AuNPs developed in this study can be used to detect LOX levels and can be further used to predict the stiffness or the anticancer drug resistance of the tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4523
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No.NRF-2020R1C1C1013146) and the Intramural Research Program of Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). E.C.C. acknowledges the financial support from the NRF (NRF-2019R1A2C1004306).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Colorimetric assays
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Lysyl oxidase
  • Tumor stiffness


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