Frontiers of Materials Science in China

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 17–28 | Cite as

Diameters of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and related nanochemistry and nanobiology

  • Jie Ma
  • Jian-Nong Wang
  • Chung-Jung Tsai
  • Ruth Nussinov
  • Buyong MaEmail author
Review Article


We reviewed and examined recent progresses related to the nanochemistry and nanobiology of signal-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), focusing on the diameters of SWCNTs and how the diameters affect the interactions of SWCNT with protein and DNA, which underlay more complex biological responses. The diameters of SWCNTs are closely related to the electronic structure and surface chemistry of SWCNTs, and subsequently affect the interaction of SWCNTs with membrane, protein, and DNA. The surfaces of SWCNT with smaller diameters are more polar, and these with large diameters are more hydrophobic. The preference of SWCNT to interact with Trp/Phe/Met residues indicates it is possible that SWCNT may interfere with normal protein-protein interactions. SWCNT-DNA interactions often change DNA conformation. Besides the promising future of using SWCNTs as delivering nanomaterial, thermal therapy, and other biological applications, we should thoroughly examine the possible effects of carbon nanotube on interrupting normal protein-protein interaction network and other genetic effects at the cellular level.


carbon nanotube (CNT) nanobiology protein DNA toxicity cancer 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Ma
    • 1
  • Jian-Nong Wang
    • 2
  • Chung-Jung Tsai
    • 3
  • Ruth Nussinov
    • 3
    • 4
  • Buyong Ma
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Shanghai Key Laboratory for Laser Processing and Materials Modification, School of Materials Science and EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Key Laboratory for Metallic Functional Materials, Key Laboratory for Advanced Civil Engineering Materials (Ministry of Education), School of Materials Science and EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Basic Science Program, SAIC-Frederick, Inc.Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology Program, NCI-Frederick, NIHFrederickUSA
  4. 4.Sackler Institute of Molecular Medicine, Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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