Dynamic Analysis of the Interactions Between Si/SiO 2 Quantum Dots and Biomolecules for Improving Applications Based on Nano-Bio Interfaces

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 27;8(1):5289. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23621-x.


Due to their outstanding properties, quantum dots (QDs) received a growing interest in the biomedical field, but it is of major importance to investigate and to understand their interaction with the biomolecules. We examined the stability of silicon QDs and the time evolution of QDs - protein corona formation in various biological media (bovine serum albumin, cell culture medium without or supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum-FBS). Changes in the secondary structure of BSA were also investigated over time. Hydrodynamic size and zeta potential measurements showed an evolution in time indicating the nanoparticle-protein interaction. The protein corona formation was also dependent on time, albumin adsorption reaching the peak level after 1 hour. The silicon QDs adsorbed an important amount of FBS proteins from the first 5 minutes of incubation that was maintained for the next 8 hours, and diminished afterwards. Under protein-free conditions the QDs induced cell membrane damage in a time-dependent manner, however the presence of serum proteins attenuated their hemolytic activity and maintained the integrity of phosphatidylcholine layer. This study provides useful insights regarding the dynamics of BSA adsorption and interaction of silicon QDs with proteins and lipids, in order to understand the role of QDs biocorona.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Protein Corona / chemistry
  • Protein Corona / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Secondary / drug effects
  • Quantum Dots / adverse effects
  • Quantum Dots / metabolism*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / metabolism
  • Silicon / adverse effects
  • Silicon / metabolism*
  • Silicon Dioxide / adverse effects
  • Silicon Dioxide / metabolism*


  • Protein Corona
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Silicon