Effect of the Materials Properties of Hydroxyapatite Nanoparticles on Fibronectin Deposition and Conformation

Cryst Growth Des. 2015 May 6;15(5):2452-2460. doi: 10.1021/acs.cgd.5b00231. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Hydroxyapatite (HAP, Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) nanoparticles with controlled materials properties have been synthesized through a two-step hydrothermal aging method to investigate fibronectin (Fn) adsorption. Two distinct populations of HAP nanoparticles have been generated: HAP1 particles had smaller size, plate-like shape, lower crystallinity, and more negative ζ potential than HAP2 particles. We then developed two-dimensional platforms containing HAP and Fn and analyzed both the amount and the conformation of Fn via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) at various HAP concentrations. Our FRET analysis reveals that larger amounts of more compact Fn molecules were adsorbed onto HAP1 than onto HAP2 particles. Additionally, our data show that the amount of compact Fn adsorbed increased with increasing HAP concentration due to the formation of nanoparticle agglomerates. We propose that both the surface chemistry of single nanoparticles and the size and morphology of HAP agglomerates play significant roles in the interaction of Fn with HAP. Collectively, our findings suggest that the HAP-induced conformational changes of Fn, a critical mechanotransducer protein involved in the communication of cells with their environment, will ultimately affect downstream cellular behaviors. These results have important implications for our understanding of organic-inorganic interactions in physiological and pathological biomineralization processes such as HAP-related inflammation.