Langmuir, Vol.34, No.46, 14033-14045, 2018
Morphological Diversity, Protein Adsorption, and Cellular Uptake of Polydopamine-Coated Gold Nanoparticles
Polydopamine (PDA)-coated nanoparticles are adhesive bionanomaterials widely utilized in intracellular applications, yet how their adhesiveness affects their colloidal stability and their interactions with serum proteins and mammalian cells remain unclear. In this work, we systematically investigate the combined effects of dopamine (DA) concentration and polymerization time (both reaction parameters spanning 2 orders of magnitude) on the morphological diversity of PDA-coated nanoparticles by coating PDA onto gold nanoparticle cores. Independent of the DA concentration, Au@PDA NPs remain largely aggregated upon several hours of limited polymerization; interestingly, extended polymerization for 2 days or longer yield randomly aggregated NPs, nearly monodisperse NPs, or worm-like NP chains in the ascending order of DA concentration. Upon exposure to serum proteins, the specific type of proteins adsorbed to the Au@PDA NPs strongly depends upon the DA concentration. As DA concentration increases, less albumin and more hemoglobin subunits adhere. Moreover, cellular uptake is a strong function of polymerization time. Serum-stabilized Au@PDA NPs prepared by limited polymerization enter Neuro-2a and HeLa cancer cells more abundantly than those prepared by extended polymerization. Our data underscore the importance of DA concentration and polymerization time for tuning the morphology and degree of intracellular delivery of PDA-coated nanostructures.