Metallofullerenol Gd@C82(OH)22 distracts the proline-rich-motif from putative binding on the SH3 domain

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Biocompatibility is often regarded as one important aspect of de novo designed nanomaterials for biosafety. However, the toxicological effect, appearing along with its latency, is much more difficult to address by linearly mapping physicochemical properties of related nanomaterials with biological effects such as immune or cellular regulatory responses due to the complicated protein-protein interactions. Here, we investigate a potential interference of a metallofullerenol, Gd@C82(OH)22, on the function of SH3 domain, a highly promiscuous protein-protein interaction mediator involved in signaling and regulatory pathways through its binding with the proline-rich motif (PRM) peptides, using the atomistic molecular dynamics simulation. Our study shows that when only Gd@C82(OH)22 and the SH3 domain are present (without the PRM ligand), Gd@C82(OH)22 can interact with the SH3 domain by either directly blocking the hydrophobic active site or binding with a hydrophilic off-site with almost equal probability, which can be understood from its intrinsic amphiphilic nature. In a binding competition with the PRM onto the SH3 domain, however, the on-site binding mode is depleted while Gd@C82(OH)22 effectively intercepts the PRM from the putative binding site of the SH3 domain, implying that Gd@C 82(OH)22 can disturb protein-protein interactions mediated by the SH3 domain. Despite a successful surface modification in an aqueous biological medium and a more recent demonstration as potential de novo cancer therapeutics, our study indicates that greater attention is needed in assessing the potential cytotoxicity of these nanomaterials. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2013.


01 Dec 2013