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Understanding biophysicochemical interactions at the nano–bio interface

Abstract

Rapid growth in nanotechnology is increasing the likelihood of engineered nanomaterials coming into contact with humans and the environment. Nanoparticles interacting with proteins, membranes, cells, DNA and organelles establish a series of nanoparticle/biological interfaces that depend on colloidal forces as well as dynamic biophysicochemical interactions. These interactions lead to the formation of protein coronas, particle wrapping, intracellular uptake and biocatalytic processes that could have biocompatible or bioadverse outcomes. For their part, the biomolecules may induce phase transformations, free energy releases, restructuring and dissolution at the nanomaterial surface. Probing these various interfaces allows the development of predictive relationships between structure and activity that are determined by nanomaterial properties such as size, shape, surface chemistry, roughness and surface coatings. This knowledge is important from the perspective of safe use of nanomaterials.

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Figure 1: Representation of the interface between a nanoparticle and a lipid bilayer.
Figure 2: Interactions between nanoparticles.
Figure 3: Effects of protein corona surrounding a nanoparticle.
Figure 4: Nanoparticle wrapping at the surface membrane.
Figure 5: Representation of receptor-mediated uptake.
Figure 6: Schematic of the proton sponge effect leading to lysosomal damage and the induction of cytotoxicity by cationic nanoparticles.
Figure 7: Influence of ZnO on lysosomal function.
Figure 8: Physical characteristics of nanoparticles determine in vivo biocompatibility.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency under Cooperative Agreement Number EF 0830117. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or EPA. This work has not been subjected to an EPA peer and policy review. Support for experimental work was provided by the UC Lead Campus for Nanotoxicology Training and Research, funded by UC TSR&TP, US Public Health Service grants (U19 AI070453, R01 ES016746, and RO1 ES015498) and the US EPA STAR award (RD-83241301) to the Southern California Particle Center. We are grateful for discussions and contributions provided by participants in the Biophysicochemical Interactions of Engineered Nanomaterials Workshop held at UCLA in September 2007. We thank B. Li and J. Hellmers for helping to make one of the figures and S. McNeil for providing Fig. 8.

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Nel, A., Mädler, L., Velegol, D. et al. Understanding biophysicochemical interactions at the nano–bio interface. Nature Mater 8, 543–557 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat2442

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