Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 18;22(12):6571. doi: 10.3390/ijms22126571.
A nucleic acid aptamer that specifically recognizes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been immobilized on magnetic nanoparticles to capture the target bacteria prior to mass spectrometry analysis. After the MRSA species were captured, they were further eluted from the nanoparticles and identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). The combination of aptamer-based capture/enrichment and MS analysis of microorganisms took advantage of the selectivity of both techniques and should enhance the accuracy of MRSA identification. The capture and elution efficiencies for MRSA were optimized by examining factors such as incubation time, temperature, and elution solvents. The aptamer-modified magnetic nanoparticles showed a capture rate of more than 90% under the optimized condition, whereas the capture rates were less than 11% for non-target bacteria. The as-prepared nanoparticles exhibited only a 5% decrease in the capture rate and a 9% decrease in the elution rate after 10 successive cycles of utilization. Most importantly, the aptamer-modified nanoparticles revealed an excellent selectivity towards MRSA in bacterial mixtures. The capture of MRSA at a concentration of 102 CFU/mL remained at a good percentage of 82% even when the other two species were at 104 times higher concentration (106 CFU/mL). Further, the eluted MRSA bacteria were successfully identified using MALDI mass spectrometry.