Anionic nanoparticle-induced perturbation to phospholipid membranes affects ion channel function

Isabel U. Foreman-Ortiz, Dongyue Liang, Elizabeth D. Laudadio, Jorge D. Calderin, Meng Wu, Puspam Keshri, Xianzhi Zhang, Michael P. Schwartz, Robert J. Hamers, Vincent M. Rotello, Catherine J. Murphy, Qiang Cui, Joel A. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the mechanisms of nanoparticle interaction with cell membranes is essential for designing materials for applications such as bioimaging and drug delivery, as well as for assessing engineered nanomaterial safety. Much attention has focused on nanoparticles that bind strongly to biological membranes or induce membrane damage, leading to adverse impacts on cells. More subtle effects on membrane function mediated via changes in biophysical properties of the phospholipid bilayer have received little study. Here, we combine electrophysiology measurements, infrared spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations to obtain insight into a mode of nanoparticle-mediated modulation of membrane protein function that was previously only hinted at in prior work. Electrophysiology measurements on gramicidin A (gA) ion channels embedded in planar suspended lipid bilayers demonstrate that anionic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) reduce channel activity and extend channel lifetimes without disrupting membrane integrity, in a manner consistent with changes in membrane mechanical properties. Vibrational spectroscopy indicates that AuNP interaction with the bilayer does not perturb the conformation of membrane-embedded gA. Molecular dynamics simulations reinforce the experimental findings, showing that anionic AuNPs do not directly interact with embedded gA channels but perturb the local properties of lipid bilayers. Our results are most consistent with a mechanism in which anionic AuNPs disrupt ion channel function in an indirect manner by altering the mechanical properties of the surrounding bilayer. Alteration of membrane mechanical properties represents a potentially important mechanism by which nanoparticles induce biological effects, as the function of many embedded membrane proteins depends on phospholipid bilayer biophysical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27854-27861
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume117
Issue number45
Early online dateOct 26 2020
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2020

Keywords

  • electrophysiology
  • ion channel
  • molecular dynamics
  • nanoparticle
  • phospholipid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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