Time evolution of the nanoparticle protein corona

Casals E, Pfaller T, Duschl A, Oostingh GJ, Puntes V.

ACS Nano. 2010 Jul 27;4(7):3623-32.



In this work, we explore the formation of the protein corona after exposure of metallic Au nanoparticles (NPs), with sizes ranging from 4 to 40 nm, to cell culture media containing 10% of fetal bovine serum. Under in vitro cell culture conditions, zeta potential measurements, UV-vis spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscope analysis were used to monitor the time evolution of the inorganic NP-protein corona formation and to characterize the stability of the NPs and their surface state at every stage of the experiment. As expected, the red-shift of the surface plasmon resonance peak, as well as the drop of surface charge and the increase of the hydrodynamic diameter indicated the conjugation of proteins to NPs. Remarkably, an evolution from a loosely attached toward an irreversible attached protein corona over time was observed. Mass spectrometry of the digested protein corona revealed albumin as the most abundant component which suggests an improved biocompatibility.