Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Biomolecular coronas provide the biological identity of nanosized materials
    The search for understanding the interactions of nanosized materials with living organisms is leading to the rapid development of key applications, including improved drug delivery by targeting nanoparticles, and resolution of the potential threat of nanotechnological devices to organisms and the environment. Unless they are specifically designed to avoid it, nanoparticles in contact with biological fluids are rapidly covered by a selected group of biomolecules to form a corona that interacts with biological systems. Here we review the basic concept of the nanoparticle corona and its structure and composition, and highlight how the properties of the corona may be linked to its biological impacts. We conclude with a critical assessment of the key problems that need to be resolved in the near future.
      2945Scopus© Citations 1972
  • Publication
    Effects of the Presence or Absence of a Protein Corona on Silica Nanoparticle Uptake and Impact on Cells
    Nanoparticles enter cells through active processes, thanks to their capability of interacting with the cellular machinery. The protein layer (corona) that forms on their surface once nanoparticles are in contact with biological fluids, such as the cell serum, mediates the interactions with cells in situ. As a consequence of this, here we show that the same nanomaterial can lead to very different biological outcomes, when exposed to cells in the presence or absence of a preformed corona. In particular, silica nanoparticles exposed to cells in the absence of serum have a stronger adhesion to the cell membrane and higher internalization efficiency, in comparison to what is observed in medium containing serum, when a preformed corona is present on their surface. The different exposure conditions not only affect the uptake levels but also result in differences in the intracellular nanoparticle location and impact on cells. Interestingly, we also show that after only one hour of exposure, a corona of very different nature forms on the nanoparticles exposed to cells in the absence of serum. Evidence suggests that these different outcomes can all be connected to the different adhesion and surface properties in the two conditions.
      2353Scopus© Citations 834
  • Publication
    Transferrin-functionalized nanoparticles lose their targeting capabilities when a biomolecule corona adsorbs on the surface
    Nanoparticles have been proposed as carriers for drugs, genes and therapies to treat various diseases1, 2. Many strategies have been developed to target nanomaterials to specific or over-expressed receptors in diseased cells, and these typically involve functionalizing the surface of nanoparticles with proteins, antibodies or other biomolecules. Here, we show that the targeting ability of such functionalized nanoparticles may disappear when they are placed in a biological environment. Using transferrin-conjugated nanoparticles, we found that proteins in the media can shield transferrin from binding to both its targeted receptors on cells and soluble transferrin receptors. Although nanoparticles continue to enter cells, the targeting specificity of transferrin is lost. Our results suggest that when nanoparticles are placed in a complex biological environment, interaction with other proteins in the medium and the formation of a protein corona3, 4 can ‘screen’ the targeting molecules on the surface of nanoparticles and cause loss of specificity in targeting.
      2342Scopus© Citations 1333
  • Publication
    In depth characterisation of the biomolecular coronas of polymer coated inorganic nanoparticles with differential centrifugal sedimentation
    Advances in nanofabrication methods have enabled the tailoring of new strategies towards the controlled production of nanoparticles with attractive applications in healthcare. In many cases, their characterisation remains a big challenge, particularly for small-sized functional nanoparticles of 5 nm diameter or smaller, where current particle sizing techniques struggle to provide the required sensitivity and accuracy. There is a clear need for the development of new reliable characterisation approaches for the physico-chemical characterisation of nanoparticles with significant accuracy, particularly for the analysis of the particles in the presence of complex biological fluids. Herein, we show that the Differential Centrifugal Sedimentation can be utilised as a high-precision tool for the reliable characterisation of functional nanoparticles of different materials. We report a method to correlate the sedimentation shift with the polymer and biomolecule adsorption on the nanoparticle surface, validating the developed core-shell model. We also highlight its limit when measuring nanoparticles of smaller size and the need to use several complementary methods when characterising nanoparticle corona complexes.
      135Scopus© Citations 4