Bioinspired nanoreactors for the biomineralisation of metallic-based nanoparticles for nanomedicine
This review explores the synthesis of inorganic metallic-based nanoparticles (MBNPs) (metals, alloys, metal oxides) using biological and biologically inspired nanoreactors for precipitation/crystallisation. Such nanoparticles exhibit a range of nanoscale properties such as surface plasmon resonance (nobel metals e.g. Au), fluorescence (semiconductor quantum dots e.g. CdSe) and nanomagnetism (magnetic alloys e.g. CoPt and iron oxides e.g. magnetite), which are currently the subject of intensive research for their applicability in diagnostic and therapeutic nanomedicine. For such applications, MBNPs are required to be biocompatible, of a precise size and shape for a consistent signal or output and be easily modified with biomolecules for applications. Ideally the MBNPs would be obtained via an environmentally-friendly synthetic route. A biological or biologically inspired nanoreactor synthesis of MBNPs is shown to address these issues. Biological nanoreactors for crystallizing MBNPs within cells (magnetosomes), protein cages (ferritin) and virus capsids (cowpea chlorotic mottle, cowpea mosaic and tobacco mosaic viruses), are discussed along with how these have been modified for applications and for the next generation of new materials. Biomimetic liposome, polymersome and even designed self-assembled proteinosome nanoreactors are also reviewed for MBNP crystallisation and further modification for applications. With the advent of synthetic biology, the research and understanding in this field is growing, with the goal of realising nanoreactor synthesis of MBNPs for biomedical applications within our grasp in the near future.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical compartmentalisation by membranes: from biological mechanism to biomimetic applications