Nanomaterials bind a range of low molecule weight molecules in addition to proteins
What is it about?
Metabolites are small molecules, involved in all biological processes, often working in partnership with proteins, that are responsible for providing energy, signaling, stimulatory and inhibitoryprocesses, yet their interactions with nanomaterials have not been explored that widely as yet, especially as compared to proteins, which are larger macromolecules. Here we lay out a framework for considering the role of small molecules in the nanomaterial corona - and suggest that many of the principles worked out experimentally for the protein corona, such as affinity versus adundance as a driver for binding, and evolution over time and with a change in the surrounding biomoelcules, also apply to the metabolite corona. We suggest that full understanding of the corona requires measurement and determination of both the protein and the metabilite constituents, as well as the cooperative (co-binding) interactions between the two groups of biomolecules.
Why is it important?
We show that the range of biomolecules that bind to nanoparticles is much wider than previously understood, and suggest that characterisation of both the small molecule (metabolite) and protein corona will be much more informative than either part alone. We also explore the mechanisms of binding, and suggest that cooperative effects play an importnat role in recruiting both metabolites and proteins into the nanomaterials corona. Knowledge of the complete corona (lipids, sugars, proteins) will enable progress in design of nanomedicines, design of nanomaterials for environmental remediation, and assessment of nanomaterials safety to ensure safe application.
The following have contributed to this page: Prof. Iseult Lynch