Modulating protein amyloid aggregation with nanomaterials
Direct exposure or intake of nanoparticles (NPs) to the human body can invoke a series of biological responses, some of which are deleterious, and as such the role of NPs in vivo requires thorough examination. Over the past decade, it has been established that biomolecules such as proteins can bind NPs to form a ‘corona’, where the structures and dynamics of NP-associated proteins can assign new functionality, systemic distribution and toxicity. However, the behavior and fate of NPs in biological systems are still far from being fully understood. Growing evidence has shown that some natural or artificial NPs could either up- or down-regulate protein amyloid aggregation, which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. These effects can be either indirect (e.g., through a crowding effect) or direct, depending on the NP composition, size, shape and surface chemistry. However, efforts to design anti-amyloid NPs for biomedical applications have been largely hindered by insufficient understanding of the complex processes, even though proof-of-concept experiments have been conducted. Therefore, exploring the general mechanisms of NP-meditated protein aggregation marks an emerging field in bio-nano research and a new stage of handling nanotechnology that not only aids in elucidating the origin of nanotoxicity, but also provides a foundation for engineering de novo anti-amyloid nanomedicines. In this review, we summarize research on NP-mediated protein amyloid aggregation, with the goal of contributing to sustained nanotechnology and safe nanomedicine against amyloid diseases.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization