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Issue 9, 2013
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Gold nanoparticles induce transcriptional activity of NF-κB in a B-lymphocyte cell line

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Gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) have been designated as superior tools for biological applications owing to their characteristic surface plasmon absorption/scattering and amperometric (electron transfer) properties, in conjunction with low or no immediate toxicity towards biological systems. Many studies have shown the ease of designing application-based tools using Au-NPs but the interaction of this nanosized material with biomolecules in a physiological environment is an area requiring deeper investigation. Immune cells such as lymphocytes circulate through the blood and lymph and therefore are likely cellular components to come in contact with Au-NPs. The main aim of this study was to mechanistically determine the functional impact of Au-NPs on B-lymphocytes. Using a murine B-lymphocyte cell line (CH12.LX), treatment with citrate-stabilized 10 nm Au-NPs induced activation of an NF-κB-regulated luciferase reporter, which correlated with altered B lymphocyte function (i.e. increased antibody expression). TEM imaging demonstrated that Au-NPs can pass through the cellular membrane and therefore could interact with intracellular components of the NF-κB signaling pathway. Based on the inherent property of Au-NPs to bind to –thiol groups and the presence of cysteine residues on the NF-κB signal transduction proteins IκB kinases (IKK), proteins specifically bound to Au-NPs were extracted from CH12.LX cellular lysate exposed to 10 nm Au-NPs. Electrophoresis identified several bands, of which IKKα and IKKβ were immunoreactive. Further evaluation revealed activation of the canonical NF-κB signaling pathway as evidenced by IκBα phosphorylation at serine residues 32 and 36 followed by IκBα degradation and increased nuclear RelA. Additionally, expression of an IκBα super-repressor (resistant to proteasomal degradation) reversed Au-NP-induced NF-κB activation. Altered NF-κB signaling and cellular function in B-lymphocytes suggests a potential for off-target effects with in vivo applications of gold nanomaterials and underscores the need for more studies evaluating the interactions of nanomaterials with biomolecules and cellular components.

Graphical abstract: Gold nanoparticles induce transcriptional activity of NF-κB in a B-lymphocyte cell line

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 Jan 2012, accepted on 24 Feb 2013 and first published on 18 Mar 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3NR30071D
Citation: Nanoscale, 2013,5, 3747-3756
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    Gold nanoparticles induce transcriptional activity of NF-κB in a B-lymphocyte cell line

    M. Sharma, R. L. Salisbury, E. I. Maurer, S. M. Hussain and C. E. W. Sulentic, Nanoscale, 2013, 5, 3747
    DOI: 10.1039/C3NR30071D

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