Controlled formation of a protein corona composed of denatured BSA on upconversion nanoparticles improves their colloidal stability

Samah Shanwar, Liuen Liang, Andrey V. Nechaev, Daria K. Bausheva, Irina V. Balalaeva, Vladimir A. Vodeneev, Indrajit Roy, Andrei V. Zvyagin, Evgenii L. Guryev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


In the natural fluidic environment of a biological system, nanoparticles swiftly adsorb plasma proteins on their surface forming a “protein corona”, which profoundly and often adversely affects their residence in the systemic circulation in vivo and their interaction with cells in vitro. It has been recognized that preformation of a protein corona under controlled conditions ameliorates the protein corona effects, including colloidal stability in serum solutions. We report on the investigation of the stabilizing effects of a denatured bovine serum albumin (dBSA) protein corona formed on the surface of upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs). UCNPs were chosen as a nanoparticle model due to their unique photoluminescent properties suitable for background-free biological imaging and sensing. UCNP surface was modified with nitrosonium tetrafluoroborate (NOBF4 ) to render it hydrophilic. UCNP-NOBF4 nanoparticles were incubated in dBSA solution to form a dBSA corona followed up by lyophilization. As produced dBSA-UCNP-NOBF4 demonstrated high photoluminescence brightness, sustained colloidal stability after long-term storage and the reduced level of serum protein surface adsorption. These results show promise of dBSA-based nanoparticle pretreatment to improve the amiability to biological environments towards theranostic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1657
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Colloidal stability
  • Lyophilization
  • Protein corona
  • Upconversion nanoparticles


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