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Biomolecular coronas provide the biological identity of nanosized materials

Abstract

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.

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Figure 1: The nanoparticle–corona complex in a biological environment.
Figure 2: The evolution of the nanoparticle corona through the body.
Figure 3: Formation of the biomolecular corona.
Figure 4: Epitope exposure on the nanoparticle/corona interface.

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Acknowledgements

Funding has been generously provided by the INSPIRE (Integrated NanoScience Platform for Ireland) programme, funded by the Irish Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, Cycle 4, National Development Plan 2007-2013 (M.P.M. and A.S.), Science Foundation Ireland under Grant No. [09/RFP/MTR2425] (C.Å.) and the EU FP7 small collaborative project NanoTransKinetics under Grant No. NMP4-2010-EU-US-266737 (C.Å.). K.A.D. gratefully acknowledges the support of the European Commission Framework Program via several NMP programs (NanoInteract, Neuronano, NanoTransKinetics) to the development of these ideas.

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Monopoli, M., Åberg, C., Salvati, A. et al. Biomolecular coronas provide the biological identity of nanosized materials. Nature Nanotech 7, 779–786 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.207

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