Lectin-based lateral flow assay: proof-of-concept

Analyst. 2016 Nov 14;141(23):6444-6448. doi: 10.1039/c6an01746k.


Lateral flow assays (LFAs) enable the simple and rapid detection and quantification of analytes and is popular for point-of-care (PoC), point-of-use and outdoor testing applications. LFAs typically depend on antibody or nucleic acid based recognition. We present the innovative concept of a LFA using lectins in the role of the biorecognition element. Lectins are a special kind of glycan-binding protein and the lectin-based LFA herein described was developed for the determination of the glycosylation of free prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA is routinely used as a biomarker of prostate cancer (PCa) and the glycosylation status of PSA is a more specific marker of disease progress than only the PSA level. Using the lectin-based LFA we were able to detect α-2,6 sialic acid present in fPSA using Sambucus nigra (SNA) lectin. As a negative control, we employed Maackia amurensis lectin II (MAA II) which specifically binds α-2,3 sialic acid. The novel approach presented here can be applied to a wide range of biomarkers that have a significant impact on clinical diagnosis and prognosis, providing an alternative to standard lectin-based assays. The assay uses commercial components and is easily performed by applying a sample to the sampling pad on the lectin-based LFA strip, with results obtained within 10 minutes.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Lectins / chemistry*
  • Male
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / analysis*
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / analysis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Sambucus / chemistry


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Lectins
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid