pH-Dependent Adsorption Release of Doxorubicin on MamC-Biomimetic Magnetite Nanoparticles

Langmuir. 2018 Nov 13;34(45):13713-13724. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b03109. Epub 2018 Nov 5.


New biomimetic magnetite nanoparticles (hereafter BMNPs) with sizes larger than most common superparamagnetic nanoparticles were produced in the presence of the recombinant MamC protein from Magnetococcus marinus MC-1 and functionalized with doxorubicin (DOXO) intended as potential drug nanocarriers. Unlike inorganic magnetite nanoparticles, in BMNPs the MamC protein controls their size and morphology, providing them with magnetic properties consistent with a large magnetic moment per particle; moreover, it provides the nanoparticles with novel surface properties. BMNPs display the isoelectric point at pH 4.4, being strongly negatively charged at physiological pH (pH 7.4). This allows both (i) their functionalization with DOXO, which is positively charged at pH 7.4, and (ii) the stability of the DOXO-surface bond and DOXO release to be pH dependent and governed by electrostatic interactions. DOXO adsorption follows a Langmuir-Freundlich model, and the coupling of DOXO to BMNPs (binary biomimetic nanoparticles) is very stable at physiological pH (maximum release of 5% of the drug adsorbed). Conversely, when pH decreases, these electrostatic interactions weaken, and at pH 5, DOXO is released up to ∼35% of the amount initially adsorbed. The DOXO-BMNPs display cytotoxicity on the GTL-16 human gastric carcinoma cell line in a dose-dependent manner, reaching about ∼70% of mortality at the maximum amount tested, while the nonloaded BMNPs are fully cytocompatible. The present data suggest that BMNPs could be useful as potential drug nanocarriers with a drug adsorption-release governed by changes in local pH values.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Alphaproteobacteria / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / toxicity
  • Biomimetic Materials / chemistry*
  • Biomimetic Materials / toxicity
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / chemical synthesis
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / toxicity
  • Drug Liberation
  • Hemolysis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / toxicity
  • Particle Size
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / toxicity
  • Surface Properties


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Drug Carriers
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Doxorubicin