A protein may become associated with the nanomaterial surface during a protein-nanomaterial interaction, in a process called adsorption. The layers of proteins adsorbed to the surface of a nanomaterial at any given time is known as the protein corona (read more in our previous Nanowerk Spotlight: "Proteins interact with 'ultrasmall' nanomaterials in unique ways"). This protein coronas form a new surface on the nanoparticle that actually would be 'seen' by biological entities (e.g. cells) rather than the pristine surface of the synthesized nanoparticle itself. This is the reason why biological responses to nanoparticles are strongly dependent to the type and amount of associated proteins in the composition of the protein corona. The type and amount of proteins in the corona composition is strongly dependent on several factors, including physicochemical properties of nanoparticles; protein source; and protein concentration.
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