Characterization of carbon nanotube protein corona by using quantitative proteomics

Xiaoning CAI, Rajkumar RAMALINGAM, Hau San WONG, Jinping CHENG, Paul AJUH, Shuk Han CHENG, Yun Wah LAM

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85 Citations (Scopus)


The protein corona of a nanomaterial is a complex layer of proteins spontaneously and stably formed when the material is exposed to body fluids or intracellular environments. In this study, we utilised stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)-based quantitative proteomics to characterise the binding of human cellular proteins to two forms of carbon nanoparticles: namely multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and carbon black (CB). The relative binding efficiency of over 750 proteins to these materials is measured. The data indicate that MWCNTs and CB bind to vastly different sets of proteins. The molecular basis of selectivity in protein binding is investigated. This study is the first large-scale characterisation of protein corona on CNT, providing the biochemical basis for the assessment of the suitability of CNTs as biomedical tools, and as an emerging pollutant. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-593
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date29 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


Cai, X., Ramalingam, R., Wong, H. S., Cheng, J., Ajuh, P., Cheng, S. H., & Lam, Y. W. (2013). Characterization of carbon nanotube protein corona by using quantitative proteomics. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 9(5), 583-593. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2012.09.004


  • Nanomaterials
  • Quantitative-proteomics
  • Carbon-black
  • Carbon-nanotubes


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