Understanding protein-nanoparticle interaction: A new gateway to disease therapeutics

Karuna Giri, Khader Shameer, Michael T. Zimmermann, Sounik Saha, Prabir K. Chakraborty, Anirudh Sharma, Rochelle R. Arvizo, Benjamin J. Madden, Daniel J. McCormick, Jean Pierre A. Kocher, Resham Bhattacharya, Priyabrata Mukherjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Molecular identification of protein molecules surrounding nanoparticles (NPs) may provide useful information that influences NP clearance, biodistribution, and toxicity. Hence, nanoproteomics provides specific information about the environment that NPs interact with and can therefore report on the changes in protein distribution that occurs during tumorigenesis. Therefore, we hypothesized that characterization and identification of protein molecules that interact with 20 nm AuNPs from cancer and noncancer cells may provide mechanistic insights into the biology of tumor growth and metastasis and identify new therapeutic targets in ovarian cancer. Hence, in the present study, we systematically examined the interaction of the protein molecules with 20 nm AuNPs from cancer and noncancerous cell lysates. Time-resolved proteomic profiles of NP-protein complexes demonstrated electrostatic interaction to be the governing factor in the initial time-points which are dominated by further stabilization interaction at longer time-points as determined by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-vis), dynamic light scattering (DLS), ζ-potential measurements, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Reduction in size, charge, and number of bound proteins were observed as the protein-NP complex stabilized over time. Interestingly, proteins related to mRNA processing were overwhelmingly represented on the NP-protein complex at all times. More importantly, comparative proteomic analyses revealed enrichment of a number of cancer-specific proteins on the AuNP surface. Network analyses of these proteins highlighted important hub nodes that could potentially be targeted for maximal therapeutic advantage in the treatment of ovarian cancer. The importance of this methodology and the biological significance of the network proteins were validated by a functional study of three hubs that exhibited variable connectivity, namely, PPA1, SMNDC1, and PI15. Western blot analysis revealed overexpression of these proteins in ovarian cancer cells when compared to normal cells. Silencing of PPA1, SMNDC1, and PI15 by the siRNA approach significantly inhibited proliferation of ovarian cancer cells and the effect correlated with the connectivity pattern obtained from our network analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1090
Number of pages13
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 18 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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