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Protein Corona Hinders N-CQDs Oxidative Potential And Favors Their Application As Nanobiocatalytic System

Joanna Czarnecka, Mateusz Kwiatkowski, Marek Wiśniewski, Katarzyna Roszek

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The oxidative properties of nanomaterials arouse legitimate concerns about oxidative damage in biological systems. On the other hand, the undisputable benefits of nanomaterials promote them for biomedical applications; thus, the strategies to reduce oxidative potential are urgently needed. We aimed at analysis of nitrogen-containing carbon quantum dots (N-CQDs) in terms of their biocompatibility and internalization by different cells. Surprisingly, N-CQD uptake does not contribute to the increased oxidative stress inside cells and lacks cytotoxic influence even at high concentrations, primarily through protein corona formation. We proved experimentally that the protein coating effectively limits the oxidative capacity of N-CQDs. Thus, N-CQDs served as an immobilization support for three different enzymes with the potential to be used as therapeutics. Various kinetic parameters of immobilized enzymes were analyzed. Regardless of the enzyme structure and type of reaction catalyzed, adsorption on the nanocarrier resulted in increased catalytic efficiency. The enzymatic-protein-to-nanomaterial ratio is the pivotal factor determining the course of kinetic parameter changes that can be tailored for enzyme application. We conclude that the above properties of N-CQDs make them an ideal support for enzymatic drugs required for multiple biomedical applications, including personalized medical therapies.