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The protein interactome of nanoparticles and its role in their cellular impact

Two Research Teams led by Odette Prat of the Institute of Biosciences and Biotechnologies (BIAM) and Jean Armengaud of the Frédéric Joliot Institute (LI2D, Marcoule) have joined forces thanks to an ANR funding to deepen knowledge of the importance of the nature of protein crowns on the cellular impact of nanoparticles. The results from their three recent publications reveal a new concept: "the protein interactome applied to the corona of nanoparticles".
Published on 20 October 2017


The formation of a protein corona around nanoparticles can influence their toxicity, triggering cellular responses that may be totally different from those elicited by pristine nanoparticles. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether the species origin of the serum proteins forming the corona influences the in vitro toxicity assessment of silica nanoparticles. Coronas were preformed around nanoparticles before cell exposures by incubation in fetal bovine (FBS) or human (HS) serum. The compositions of these protein coronas were assessed by nano-LC MS/MS. The effects of these protein-coated nanoparticles on HepG2 cells were monitored using real-time cell impedance technology. The nanoparticle coronas formed in human or fetal bovine serum comprised many homologous proteins. Using human compared with fetal bovine serum, nanoparticle toxicity in HepG2 cells decreased by 4-fold and 1.5-fold, when used at 50 and 10μg/mL, respectively. It is likely that "markers of self" are present in the serum and are recognized by human cell receptors. Preforming a corona with human serum seems to be more appropriate for in vitro toxicity testing of potential nanocarriers using human cells. In vitrocytotoxicity assays must reflect in vivo conditions as closely as possible to provide solid and useful results.​

Read the French version.

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