Carbon nanotubes induce secondary structure changes of bovine albumin in aqueous phase

Man Yang, Jie Meng, Xiaobo Mao, Yang Yang, Xuelian Cheng, Hui Yuan, Chen Wang, Haiyan Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interaction of nanomaterials to protein molecules is one of the most important issues to deeply understand the influences of the nanomaterials upon physiological processes and protein functions. So far most of investigations focused on the protein molecules adsorbed on the nanomaterials surface, less is known about those in the aqueous phase (not absorbed). In this work, luminescent spectroscopy analysis, circular dichroism measurement, atomic force microscopy, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry, isoelectric focusing and sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis were used to investigate the influence of oxidized water-soluble multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNT) dispersing in aqueous solution upon the structures of bovine serum albumin (BSA) through co-incubation. We focused on BSA molecules that stayed in the aqueous phase instead of those adsorbed by CNT. Experimental results show that the fractions of β-sheet decreased from 33.3% to 29.8% and β-turn increased from 2% to 5% in reference with native BSA. There was a slight increase of α-helix and a slight reduction of random coil. BSA molecules that had been encountered with CNT and were left in the solution formed a loose and flatten morphology on graphite substrates instead of their native tight and round morphology observed by AFM. The value of isoelectric point for BSA after exposed to CNT moved towards to a higher pH position compared with native BSA. All together, it was concluded that the oxidized water-soluble multiwalled carbon nanotubes not only adsorb bovine serum albumin molecules to their surface, but also induces albumin molecules in the aqueous solution undergo secondary structure changes, which lead to a conformation change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7550-7553
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aqueous phase
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Interaction
  • Protein
  • Secondary structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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