Research highlights: investigating the role of nanoparticle surface charge in nano–bio interactions
A systematic approach to predicting nanoparticle–cell interactions has become increasingly important due to the great potential that nanoparticles hold for biomedical and environmental applications. However, the quantitative description and accurate characterization of nanomaterial surface chemistry (e.g., ligand distribution and surface charge) is nontrivial due to the sheer complexity of both the nanoparticle mechanisms and the biological environments with which they interact. The authors of this highlight, including both experimental and theoretical chemists, were motivated to explore the current gap in the fundamental knowledge about nanoparticle surface charge-dependent interactions across a variety of biological systems. The highlight focuses on three recent publications that survey the effects of nanoparticle surface charge across several bio-system complexities, addressing: (i) ligand-coated gold nanoparticles traversing a lipid bilayer, (ii) silica nanoparticle uptake into human osteoblast cells, and (iii) the suborgan distribution of gold nanoparticles in mice.