Female versus male biological identities of nanoparticles determine the interaction with immune cells in fish

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article


  • Yuya Hayashi
  • Teodora Miclaus
    Teodora MiclausINL International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory
  • Sivakumar Murugadoss
    Sivakumar MurugadossKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Germany
  • Masanari Takamiya
    Masanari TakamiyaKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Carsten Scavenius
  • Kasper Kjær-Sørensen
  • Jan J. Enghild
  • Uwe Strähle
    Uwe SträhleKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Germany
  • Claus Oxvig
  • Carsten Weiss
    Carsten WeissKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)Germany
  • Duncan Sutherland
Biomolecule decoration of nanoparticles provides a corona that modulates how the nanoparticles interact with biological milieus. The corona composition has proved to reflect the differences in the repertoire of proteins to which the nanoparticles are exposed, and as a result the same nanoparticles can acquire a differential biological identity. Here we examined whether a unique biological identity acquired from sex-specific protein repertoires could alter the degree of nanoparticle uptake by cognate immune cells. We chose zebrafish as a model species of which blood plasma is sexually contrasted by the unique presence/absence of the egg yolk precursor protein vitellogenin. Sex-specific protein coronas were thus formed around 70 nm SiO2 nanoparticles using female/male blood plasma from zebrafish or fetal bovine serum as a non-native reference. In contrast to protein coronas formed of male blood plasma, a “female” biological identity of the nanoparticles was represented by prevailing contribution of vitellogenins to the corona proteome. We then exposed zebrafish blood cells to the three types of pre-formed nanoparticle–protein complexes and compared nanoparticle uptake using flow cytometry. Lymphoid and myeloid populations of the blood cells preferentially accumulated the nanoparticles with a female biological identity, irrespective of the sex of the fish from which the cells were obtained. The concept of repertoire differences in the corona proteome therefore deserves further attention, as various factors such as sex-specific biological conditions exemplified in this study could alter the nanoparticle–cell interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science: Nano
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)895-906
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2017

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