Modeling of interactions between nanoparticles and cell membranes
Rapid development of nanotechnology and ability to manufacture materials and devices with nanometer feature size leads to exciting innovations in many areas including the medical and electronic fields. However, the possible health and environmental impacts of manufactured nanomaterials are not fully known. Recent experimental reports suggest that some of the manufactured nanomaterials, such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, are highly toxic even in small concentrations. The goal of the current work is to understand the mechanisms responsible for the toxicity of nanomaterials. In the current study coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations are employed to investigate the interactions between NPs and cellular membranes at a molecular level.
One of the possible toxicity mechanisms of the nanomaterials is membrane disruption. Possibility of membrane disruption exposed to the manufactured nanomaterials are examined by considering chemical reactions and non-reactive physical interactions as chemical as well as physical mechanisms. Mechanisms of transport of carbon-based nanoparticles (fullerene and its derivative) across a phospholipid bilayer are investigated. The free energy profile is obtained using constrained simulations. It is shown that the considered nanoparticles are hydrophobic and therefore they tend to reside in the interior of the lipid bilayer. In addition, the dynamics of the membrane fluctuations is significantly affected by the nanoparticles at the bilayer-water interface. The hydrophobic interaction between the particles and membrane core induces the strong coupling between the nanoparticle motion and membrane deformation.
It is observed that the considered nanoparticles affect several physical properties of the membrane. The nanoparticles embedded into the membrane interior lead to the membrane softening, which becomes more significant with increase in CNT length and concentration. The lateral pressure profile and membrane energy in the membrane containing the nanoparticles exhibit localized perturbation around the nanoparticle. The nanoparticles are not likely to affect membrane protein function by the weak perturbation of the internal stress in the membrane. Due to the short-ranged interactions between the nanoparticles, the nanoparticles would not form aggregates inside membranes.
The effect of lipid peroxidation on cell membrane deformation is assessed. The peroxidized lipids introduce a perturbation to the internal structure of the membrane leading to higher amplitude of the membrane fluctuations. Higher concentration of the peroxidized lipids induces more significant perturbation. Cumulative effects of lipid peroxidation caused by nanoparticles are examined for the first time. The considered amphiphilic particle appears to reduce the perturbation of the membrane structure at its equilibrium position inside the peroxidized membrane. This suggests a possibility of antioxidant effect of the nanoparticle.
0542: Chemical engineering