Identification of the binding site between bovine serum albumin and ultrasmall SiC fluorescent biomarkers
Ultrasmall silicon carbide nanoparticles (SiC USNPs) are very promising biomarkers for developing new applications in diagnostics, cell monitoring or drug delivery, even though their interaction with biological molecules such as different proteins has not yet been investigated in detail. In this study, the biological behaviour of SiC USNPs in a medium modeling a living organism was investigated in detail through the dependence of the fluorescence on interactions between bovine serum albumin (BSA) and SiC USNPs. The interaction shows transient nanoparticle–protein associations due to the restricted diffusion behaviour of the nanoparticles in the vicinity of a protein. The transient association manifests in a complex fluorescence quenching mechanism where the dynamic component was dominated by Förster resonance energy transfer. By studying SiC nanoparticles of different sizes, it can be concluded that the transient effect is an ultrasmall nanoparticle behaviour.