Here, we have strategically synthesized stable gold (AuNPs(Tyr), AuNPs(Trp)) and silver (AgNPs(Tyr)) nanoparticles which are surface functionalized with either tyrosine or tryptophan residues and have examined their potential to inhibit amyloid aggregation of insulin. Inhibition of both spontaneous and seed-induced aggregation of insulin was observed in the presence of AuNPs(Tyr), AgNPs(Tyr), and AuNPs(Trp) nanoparticles. These nanoparticles also triggered the disassembly of insulin amyloid fibrils. Surface functionalization of amino acids appears to be important for the inhibition effect since isolated tryptophan and tyrosine molecules did not prevent insulin aggregation. Bioinformatics analysis predicts involvement of tyrosine in H-bonding interactions mediated by its C=O, -NH2, and aromatic moiety. These results offer significant opportunities for developing nanoparticle-based therapeutics against diseases related to protein aggregation.
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