Quantum dots induce charge-specific amyloid-like fibrillation of insulin at physiological conditions

Alyona Sukhanova, Simon Poly, Anton Shemetov, Igor R. Nabiev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


Agglomeration of some proteins may give rise to aggregates that have been identified as the main cause of amyloid diseases. For example, fibrillation of insulin is related to diabetes mellitus. Quantum dots (QDs) are of special interest as tagging agents for diagnostic and therapeutic studies due to their broad absorption spectra, narrow emission spectra, and high photostability. In this study, PEGylated CdSe/ZnS QDs have been shown to induce the formation of amyloid-like fibrils of human insulin under physiological conditions, this process being dependent on the variation of the surface charge of the nanoparticles (NPs) used. Circular dichroism (CD), protein secondary structure analysis, thioflavin T (ThT) fluorescence assay, and the dynamic light scattering (DLS) technique have been used for comparative analysis of different stages of the fibrillation process. In particular, insulin secondary structure remodelling accompanied by a considerable increase in the rate of amyloid fiber formation have been observed after insulin was mixed with PEGylated QDs. Nanoparticles may significantly influence the rate of protein fibrillation and induce new mechanisms of amyloid diseases, as well as offer opportunities for their treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNanosystems in Engineering and Medicine
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventNanosystems in Engineering and Medicine - Incheon, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Sep 10 2012Sep 12 2012

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherNanosystems in Engineering and Medicine
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • amyloidosis
  • insulin
  • nanoparticles
  • proteopathies
  • quantum dots
  • secondary structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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