Adsorption of Cellular Proteins to Polyelectrolyte-Functionalized Gold Nanorods: A Mechanism for Nanoparticle Regulation of Cell Phenotype?

>Cell behavior in the presence of nanomaterials is typically explored through simple viability assays, but there is mounting evidence that nanomaterials can have more subtle effects on a variety of cellular functions. Previously our lab demonstrated that gold nanorods functionalized with polyelectrolyte multi-layers inhibited rat cardiac fibroblast-mediated remodeling of type I collagen scaffolds by altering fibroblast phenotype and the mechanical properties of the collagen network. In this work, we examine a possible mechanism for these effects: adsorption of cellular proteins by the nanorods. Mass spectrometric and gel electrophoresis of media collected from cultured cells suggests that a number of proteins, some of which mediate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, adsorb onto the surface of these nanoparticles in vitro. Polyethylene glycol coating of the nanorods largely mitigates protein adsorption and fibroblast-mediated collagen remodeling. These results suggest that adsorption of proteins by nanorods could have a significant effect on cell functions, including fibroblast-mediated matrix remodeling.

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