Molecular interactions of graphene oxide with human blood plasma proteins
We investigate the molecular interactions between graphene oxide (GO) and human blood plasma proteins. To gain an insight into the bio-physico-chemical activity of GO in biological and biomedical applications, we performed a series of biophysical assays to quantify the molecular interactions between GO with different lateral size distributions and the three essential human blood plasma proteins. We elucidate the various aspects of the GO–protein interactions, particularly, the adsorption, binding kinetics and equilibrium, and conformational stability, through determination of quantitative parameters, such as GO–protein association constants, binding cooperativity, and the binding-driven protein structural changes. We demonstrate that the molecular interactions between GO and plasma proteins are significantly dependent on the lateral size distribution and mean lateral sizes of the GO nanosheets and their subtle variations may markedly influence the GO–protein interactions. Consequently, we propose the existence of size-dependent molecular interactions between GO nanosheets and plasma proteins, and importantly, the presence of specific critical mean lateral sizes of GO nanosheets in achieving very high association and fluorescence quenching efficiency of the plasma proteins. We anticipate that this work will provide a basis for the design of graphene-based and other related nanomaterials for a plethora of biological and biomedical applications.