Relating the composition and interface interactions in the hard corona of gold nanoparticles to the induced response mechanisms in living cells†
Understanding the formation of the intracellular protein corona of nanoparticles is essential for a wide range of bio- and nanomedical applications. The innermost layer of the protein corona, the hard corona, directly interacts with the nanoparticle surface, and by shielding the surface, it has a deterministic effect on the intracellular processing of the nanoparticle. Here, we combine a direct qualitative analysis of the hard corona composition of gold nanoparticles with a detailed structural characterization of the molecules in their interaction with the nanoparticle surface and relate both to the effects they have on the ultrastructure of living cells and the processing of the gold nanoparticles. Cells from the cell lines HCT-116 and A549 were incubated with 30 nm citrate-stabilized gold nanoparticles and with their aggregates in different culture media. The combined results of mass spectrometry based proteomics, cryo soft X-ray nanotomography and surface-enhanced Raman scattering experiments together revealed different uptake mechanisms in the two cell lines and distinct levels of induced cellular stress when incubation conditions were varied. The data indicate that the different incubation conditions lead to changes in the nanoparticle processing via different protein–nanoparticle interfacial interactions. Specifically, they suggest that the protein–nanoparticle surface interactions depend mainly on the surface properties of the gold nanoparticles, that is, the ζ-potential and the resulting changes in the hydrophilicity of the nanoparticle surface, and are largely independent of the cell line, the uptake mechanism and intracellular processing, or the extent of the induced cellular stress.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles