Boronate ester bond-based potentiometric aptasensor for screening carcinoembryonic antigen-glycoprotein using nanometer-sized CaCO3 with ion-selective electrode

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2021 Feb;413(4):1073-1080. doi: 10.1007/s00216-020-03067-9. Epub 2020 Nov 23.


Phenylboronic acid-functionalized nanometer-sized CaCO3 particles (PBA-CaCO3) were designed to determine the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) glycoprotein with a portable Ca2+ ion-selective electrode (Ca-ISE) through a typical boronate ester bond. CaCO3 nanospheres were conjugated to 3-aminophenylboronic acid by amine-epoxy reaction, whereas target CEA was captured into the aptasensing interface by the immobilized thiolated aptamer on gold substrate. Upon PBA-CaCO3 introduction, 3-aminophenylboronic acid labeled to CaCO3 microsphere specifically recognized with CEA glycoprotein based on sugar-boronic acid interaction to form a sandwiched complex. The carried CaCO3 was dissolved under acidic conditions to release Ca2+ ion with a portable Ca-ISE readout. Thanks to the specific boronate ester bond between PBA and 1,2-diols, the synthesized PBA-CaCO3 exhibited good conjugation properties for CEA glycoprotein. Under optimum conditions, Ca-ISE-based aptasensing platform exhibited good electrode potential response for evaluation of target CEA, and allowed detection of CEA at a concentration as low as 7.3 pg mL-1. Importantly, Ca-ISE-based aptasensing system is readily extended to detect other disease-related glycoproteins by controlling the corresponding aptamer.

Keywords: Aptasensor; Carcinoembryonic antigen; Ion-selective electrode; Nanometer-sized CaCO3; Potentiometric measurement.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / chemistry*
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Boronic Acids / chemistry*
  • Calcium Carbonate / chemistry*
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood*
  • Electrochemical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Ion-Selective Electrodes*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Nanostructures / chemistry
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Boronic Acids
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • benzeneboronic acid