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Special Issue "Exploitation of Multifunctional Nanomaterials for Biological Applications"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Nanochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marco Rossi
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Basic and Applied Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, via A. Scarpa 16, 00161 Rome, Italy
Interests: electron microscopy; electron diffraction; nanocharacterizations; nanotechnology; carbon nanomaterials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Daniele Passeri
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, Via A. Scarpa 14, 00161 Rome, Italy
Interests: nanocharacterizations; scanning probe microscopy; nanotechnology; nanoscience; atomic force microscopy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Francesca A. Scaramuzzo
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering (SBAI), Sapienza University of Rome, Via del Castro Laurenziano 7, 00161 Rome, Italy
Interests: materials science; nanomaterials; organic-inorganic hybrids; coordination compounds chemistry; molecular recognition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The development and spreading of nanomaterials are leading to an authentic revolution in science and technology. Behaving differently from bulk materials, nanomaterials can be tuned in shape, composition, and dimensions, giving rise to a variety of physico-chemical features and properties. The biological and biomedical fields are taking great advantage of the use of nanomaterials, since these can act as probes, carriers, or scaffolds. Moreover, the possibility to combine more chemical features and moieties in the same nanosystem (e.g., nanocomposites, core–shell nanostructures, organic–inorganic hybrids) has opened new perspectives in the design of smart nanoplatforms which can be potentially used to obtain multifunctional devices.

The Special Issue “Exploitation of Multifunctional Nanomaterials for Biological Applications” will cover the synthesis, characterization, and cutting-edge biological applications of multifunctional nanomaterials, including new and green production strategies, multiplatforms for sensing and theragnostics, smart structural and functional nanosystems. Theory, design optimization, and mechanistic studies of nanomaterials–biomolecules interactions will be covered as well.

We are pleased to invite you to submit a manuscript to this Special Issue. Full research papers, short communications, and review papers covering the aforementioned topics are welcome.

Prof. Marco Rossi
Dr. Daniele Passeri
Dr. Francesca Scaramuzzo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biomaterials
  • Nanomaterials for theragnostics
  • Nanoplatforms for biomolecular sensing
  • Biocompatible nanomaterials
  • Biomedical nanoprobes
  • Antibacterial
  • Drug delivery
  • Green synthesis of nanocomposites
  • Nanomaterials for the environment
  • Toxicity of nanomaterials
  • Characterization at the nanoscale
  • Theory and modelling of nanomaterials–biomolecules interactions

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Green Synthesis of an Activated Carbon-Supported Ag and ZnO Nanocomposite for Photocatalytic Degradation and Its Antibacterial Activities
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25071586 - 30 Mar 2020
Abstract
In this study Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs), ZnO nanoparticles (ZnONPs), and Ag/ZnO nanocomposites were greenly synthesized and loaded on activated carbon via three different routes: simple impregnation, successive precipitation, and co-precipitation. Neem leaf extract was used as a reducing and stabilizing agent. The morphological [...] Read more.
In this study Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs), ZnO nanoparticles (ZnONPs), and Ag/ZnO nanocomposites were greenly synthesized and loaded on activated carbon via three different routes: simple impregnation, successive precipitation, and co-precipitation. Neem leaf extract was used as a reducing and stabilizing agent. The morphological and structural properties of the synthesized nanocomposites have been examined using different analytical techniques such as XRD, SEM, FTIR, and UV. The antibacterial and catalytic activity of the synthesized nanocomposites were examined and compared. The results showed that AgNPs loaded on activated carbon (Ag/AC) has the best catalytic activity compared to the other nanocomposites, which is attributed to the good dispersal of AgNPs on the surface of activated carbon. Furthermore, AgNPs showed the best antibacterial effect on eight out of 16 tested pathogens. Results also showed that the order of precipitation is an important factor, as both antibacterial activities and photodegradation activities were higher for ZnO/Ag/AC than Ag/ZnO/AC. Furthermore, the co-precipitation method was shown to be better than the successive precipitation method for 4-nitrophenol photodegradation and 14 out of the 16 antibacterial tests performed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Moderate Static Magnetic Field (6 mT)-Induced Lipid Rafts Rearrangement Increases Silver NPs Uptake in Human Lymphocytes
Molecules 2020, 25(6), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061398 - 19 Mar 2020
Abstract
One of the most relevant drawbacks in medicine is the ability of drugs and/or imaging agents to reach cells. Nanotechnology opened new horizons in drug delivery, and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) represent a promising delivery vehicle for their adjustable size and shape, high-density surface [...] Read more.
One of the most relevant drawbacks in medicine is the ability of drugs and/or imaging agents to reach cells. Nanotechnology opened new horizons in drug delivery, and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) represent a promising delivery vehicle for their adjustable size and shape, high-density surface ligand attachment, etc. AgNPs cellular uptake involves different endocytosis mechanisms, including lipid raft-mediated endocytosis. Since static magnetic fields (SMFs) exposure induces plasma membrane perturbation, including the rearrangement of lipid rafts, we investigated whether SMF could increase the amount of AgNPs able to pass the peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) plasma membrane. To this purpose, the effect of 6-mT SMF exposure on the redistribution of two main lipid raft components (i.e., disialoganglioside GD3, cholesterol) and on AgNPs uptake efficiency was investigated. Results showed that 6 mT SMF: (i) induces a time-dependent GD3 and cholesterol redistribution in plasma membrane lipid rafts and modulates gene expression of ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), (ii) increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and lipid peroxidation, (iii) does not induce cell death and (iv) induces lipid rafts rearrangement, that, in turn, favors the uptake of AgNPs. Thus, it derives that SMF exposure could be exploited to enhance the internalization of NPs-loaded therapeutic or diagnostic molecules. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Highly Sensitive Detection of PCV2 Based on Tyramide Signals and GNPL Amplification
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4364; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234364 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
The frequent emergence of secondary infection and immunosuppression after porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection highlights the need to develop sensitive detection methods. A dual-signal amplification enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on a microplate coated with gold nanoparticle layers (GNPL) and tyramide signal [...] Read more.
The frequent emergence of secondary infection and immunosuppression after porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection highlights the need to develop sensitive detection methods. A dual-signal amplification enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on a microplate coated with gold nanoparticle layers (GNPL) and tyramide signal amplification (TSA) was established. Results confirmed that the microplates coated with GNPL have a strong binding ability to the antibody without affecting the biological activity of the antibody. The microplates coated with GNPL have strong binding ability to the antibody, and the amplification of the tyramide signal is combined to further improve the sensitivity of PCV2. The PCV2 antibody does not crossreact with other viruses, demonstrating that the method has good specificity. A dual-signal amplification strategy is developed using microplates modified with GNPL and TSA to sensitively detect PCV2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Appraisal of Comparative Therapeutic Potential of Undoped and Nitrogen-Doped Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles
Molecules 2019, 24(21), 3916; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213916 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nitrogen-doped and undoped titanium dioxide nanoparticles were successfully fabricated by simple chemical method and characterized using x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray (EDX), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. The reduction in crystalline size of TiO2 nanoparticles (from [...] Read more.
Nitrogen-doped and undoped titanium dioxide nanoparticles were successfully fabricated by simple chemical method and characterized using x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray (EDX), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. The reduction in crystalline size of TiO2 nanoparticles (from 20–25 nm to 10–15 nm) was observed by TEM after doping with N. Antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antidiabetic, protein kinase inhibition and cytotoxic properties were assessed in vitro to compare the therapeutic potential of both kinds of TiO2 nanoparticles. All biological activities depicted significant enhancement as a result of addition of N as doping agent to TiO2 nanoparticles. Klebsiella pneumoniae has been illuminated to be the most susceptible bacterial strain out of various Gram-positive and Gram-negative isolates of bacteria used in this study. Good fungicidal activity has been revealed against Aspergillus flavus. 38.2% of antidiabetic activity and 80% of cytotoxicity has been elucidated by N-doped TiO2 nanoparticles towards alpha-amylase enzyme and Artemia salina (brine shrimps), respectively. Moreover, notable protein kinase inhibition against Streptomyces and antioxidant effect including reducing power and % inhibition of DPPH has been demonstrated. This investigation unveils the more effective nature of N-doped TiO2 nanoparticles in comparison to undoped TiO2 nanoparticles indicated by various biological tests. Hence, N-doped TiO2 nanoparticles have more potential to be employed in biomedicine for the cure of numerous infections. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Centrifugation Conditions in the L-PRP Preparation Affect Soluble Factors Release and Mesenchymal Stem Cell Proliferation in Fibrin Nanofibers
Molecules 2019, 24(15), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24152729 - 27 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Leukocyte and platelet-rich plasma (L-PRP) is an autologous product that when activated forms fibrin nanofibers, which are useful in regenerative medicine. As an important part of the preparation of L-PRP, the centrifugation parameters may affect the release of soluble factors that modulate the [...] Read more.
Leukocyte and platelet-rich plasma (L-PRP) is an autologous product that when activated forms fibrin nanofibers, which are useful in regenerative medicine. As an important part of the preparation of L-PRP, the centrifugation parameters may affect the release of soluble factors that modulate the behavior of the cells in the nanofibers. In this study, we evaluated the influences of four different centrifugation conditions on the concentration of platelets and leukocytes in L-PRP and on the anabolic/catabolic balance of the nanofiber microenvironment. Human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (h-AdMSCs) were seeded in the nanofibers, and their viability and growth were evaluated. L-PRPs prepared at 100× g and 100 + 400× g released higher levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB due to the increased platelet concentration, while inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-8 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were more significantly released from L-PRPs prepared via two centrifugation steps (100 + 400× g and 800 + 400× g) due to the increased concentration of leukocytes. Our results showed that with the exception of nanofibers formed from L-PRP prepared at 800 + 400× g, all other microenvironments were favorable for h-AdMSC proliferation. Here, we present a reproducible protocol for the standardization of L-PRP and fibrin nanofibers useful in clinical practices with known platelet/leukocyte ratios and in vitro evaluations that may predict in vivo results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Stimulatory Effects of Nanochitin Whisker on Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism and on the Enhancement of Grain Yield and Crude Protein of Winter Wheat
Molecules 2019, 24(9), 1752; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091752 - 06 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Nanochitin whisker (NC) with a cationic nature could enhance plant photosynthesis, grain yield, and quality of wheat, but have not been systematically studied. This study was designed to investigate the stimulatory effects of NC on dry matter (DM) and nitrogen (N) accumulation and [...] Read more.
Nanochitin whisker (NC) with a cationic nature could enhance plant photosynthesis, grain yield, and quality of wheat, but have not been systematically studied. This study was designed to investigate the stimulatory effects of NC on dry matter (DM) and nitrogen (N) accumulation and translocation, and on the metabolism of carbon (C) and N in later growth stages of winter wheat to reveal the enhancement mechanism of grain yield and crude protein concentration. Different parts of NC-treated plants from pot grown experiments were collected at the pre- and post-anthesis stages. The accumulation, translocation, and contributions of DM and N from pre-anthesis vegetation organs to grains, as well as key metabolic enzyme activities, including sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC), were examined. The results showed that, at an application rate of 6 mg·kg−1 of NC in the soil, the accumulation of DM and N were significantly enhanced by 16.2% and 38.8% in pre-anthesis, and by 15.4% and 30.0% in post-anthesis, respectively. Translocation of N and DM in the post-anthesis periods were enhanced by 38.4% and 50.9%, respectively. NC could also stimulate enzyme activities, and increased 39.8% and 57.1% in flag leaves, and by 36.0% and 58.8% in spikes, respectively, at anthesis. SPS and PEPC increased by 28.2% and 45.1% in flag leaves, and by 42.2% and 56.5% in spikes, respectively, at 15 days after anthesis. The results indicated that the NC promoted N metabolism more than C metabolism, and resulted in the enhancement of grain yield by 27.56% and of crude protein concentration in grain by 13.26%, respectively. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Ferritin Nanocages for Protein Delivery to Tumor Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040825 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
The delivery of therapeutic proteins is one of the greatest challenges in the treatment of human diseases. In this frame, ferritins occupy a very special place. Thanks to their hollow spherical structure, they are used as modular nanocages for the delivery of anticancer [...] Read more.
The delivery of therapeutic proteins is one of the greatest challenges in the treatment of human diseases. In this frame, ferritins occupy a very special place. Thanks to their hollow spherical structure, they are used as modular nanocages for the delivery of anticancer drugs. More recently, the possibility of encapsulating even small proteins with enzymatic or cytotoxic activity is emerging. Among all ferritins, particular interest is paid to the Archaeoglobus fulgidus one, due to its peculiar ability to associate/dissociate in physiological conditions. This protein has also been engineered to allow recognition of human receptors and used in vitro for the delivery of cytotoxic proteins with extremely promising results. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The History of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: From Chemical–Physical Applications to Nanomedicine
Molecules 2020, 25(1), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010112 - 27 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Nanoscience breakthroughs in almost every field of science and nanotechnologies make life easier in this era. Nanoscience and nanotechnology represent an expanding research area, which involves structures, devices, and systems with novel properties and functions due to the arrangement of their atoms on [...] Read more.
Nanoscience breakthroughs in almost every field of science and nanotechnologies make life easier in this era. Nanoscience and nanotechnology represent an expanding research area, which involves structures, devices, and systems with novel properties and functions due to the arrangement of their atoms on the 1–100 nm scale. The field was subject to a growing public awareness and controversy in the early 2000s, and in turn, the beginnings of commercial applications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnologies contribute to almost every field of science, including physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, computer science, and engineering. Notably, in recent years nanotechnologies have been applied to human health with promising results, especially in the field of cancer treatment. To understand the nature of nanotechnology, it is helpful to review the timeline of discoveries that brought us to the current understanding of this science. This review illustrates the progress and main principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology and represents the pre-modern as well as modern timeline era of discoveries and milestones in these fields. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Graphene Oxide: A Smart (Starting) Material for Natural Methylxanthines Adsorption and Detection
Molecules 2019, 24(23), 4247; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24234247 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Natural methylxanthines, caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, are widespread biologically active alkaloids in human nutrition, found mainly in beverages (coffee, tea, cocoa, energy drinks, etc.). Their detection is thus of extreme importance, and many studies are devoted to this topic. During the last decade, [...] Read more.
Natural methylxanthines, caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, are widespread biologically active alkaloids in human nutrition, found mainly in beverages (coffee, tea, cocoa, energy drinks, etc.). Their detection is thus of extreme importance, and many studies are devoted to this topic. During the last decade, graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO) gained popularity as constituents of sensors (chemical, electrochemical and biosensors) for methylxanthines. The main advantages of GO and RGO with respect to graphene are the easiness and cheapness of synthesis, the notable higher solubility in polar solvents (water, among others), and the higher reactivity towards these targets (mainly due to π–π interactions); one of the main disadvantages is the lower electrical conductivity, especially when using them in electrochemical sensors. Nonetheless, their use in sensors is becoming more and more common, with the obtainment of very good results in terms of selectivity and sensitivity (up to 5.4 × 10−10 mol L−1 and 1.8 × 10−9 mol L−1 for caffeine and theophylline, respectively). Moreover, the ability of GO to protect DNA and RNA from enzymatic digestion renders it one of the best candidates for biosensors based on these nucleic acids. This is an up-to-date review of the use of GO and RGO in sensors. Full article
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