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A flexible nanoparticle-based phospholipase (PL) assay is demonstrated in which the enzymatic substrate is decoupled from the nanoparticle surface. Liposomes are loaded with a polypeptide that is designed to heteroassociate with a second polypeptide immobilized on gold nanoparticles. Release of this polypeptide from the liposomes, triggered by PL, induces a folding-dependent nanoparticle bridging aggregation. The colorimetric response from this aggregation enables straightforward and continuous detection of PL in the picomolar range. The speed, specificity, and flexibility of this assay make it appropriate for a range of applications, from point of care diagnostics to high-throughput pharmaceutical screening.

Original publication




Journal article


Nano Lett

Publication Date





1401 - 1405


Colorimetry, Enzyme Activation, Liposomes, Nanostructures, Particle Size, Phospholipases