Coatings keep gunk off nanoparticles

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Science  15 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6198, pp. 783
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6198.783-e
A corona-free nanoparticleCREDIT: D. F. MOYANO ET AL. ACS NANO 8, 7 ((27 JUNE 2014) © 2014 AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY

Nanoparticles have many potential therapeutic applications, such as delivering drugs. In untreated biological fluids such as plasma or serum, however, protein layers can cover the particles' surfaces, interfering with their intended function. Moyano et al. show that gold nanoparticles coated with zwitterionic ligands — neutral molecules with both positively and negatively charged regions — prevent protein coronas from forming around the particles. As a consequence, the nanoparticles can interact with cells as intended. Furthermore, the hydrophobicity of the nanoparticles can be tuned, which affects the cellular uptake of the particles.

ACS Nano 10.1021/nn5006478 (2014).

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