Cell responses to rotational nanoparticles

Understanding and controlling the active interaction of magnetic nanorods (MNs) with cell membranes is critical to the development of such biomedical applications as gene delivery, cellular imaging, and tumor therapy. Recent years have provided growing evidence that the passive rotational behavior of nanorods on a membrane surface can provide significant insight into cellular uptake mechanisms of NPs into the cell membrane, however there is a lack of understanding towards how active rotational nanorods interact with the cell membrane and the possible resultant effects on membrane integrity. We perform dissipative particle dynamics simulations to analyze the shape effect of actively rotating MNs on the integrity of cell membranes, so as to provide a novel mechanical technique for cancer treatment via the rupturing of cell membranes.

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Dynamic membrane rupture process by the rotation of a L-shape magnetic nanoparticle. (a) Attachment mode; (b) endocytosis mode; (c) density distribution of lipid beads at the final stage.

Cell-to-cell communications via the tunneling nanotubes or gap junction channels are vital for the development and maintenance of multicellular organisms. Instead of these intrinsic communication pathways, how to design artificial communication channels between cells remains a challenging but interesting problem. Here we perform dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulations to analyze the interaction between rotational nanotubes (RNTs) and vesicles so as to provide a novel design mechanism for cell-to-cell communication. Simulation results have demonstrated that the RNTs are capable of generating local disturbance and promote vesicle translocation toward the RNTs. Through ligand pattern designing on the RNTs, we can find a suitable nanotube candidate with a specific ligand coating pattern for forming the RNT-vesicle network. The results also show that a RNT can act as a bridged channel between vesicles which facilitates substance transfer. Our findings provide useful guidelines for the molecular design of patterned RNTs for creating a synthetic channel between cells.

cell-cell communication
Evolution of protein chain transportation between two vesicles through the RNT channel. Water beads in vesicle A are shown in brown while water beads from vesicle B are shown in white.


L. Zhang and X. Wang, "Nanotube-enabled Vesicle-Vesicle Communication: A Computational Model", Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 6: 2530-2537, 2015.


Dr. Yiping Zhao (UGA Department of Physics)