Author(s): Alexeev A, Uspal WE, Balazs AC
Abstract Share this page
Abstract We use a coarse-grained numerical simulation to design a synthetic membrane with stable pores that can be controllably opened and closed. Specifically, we use dissipative particle dynamics to probe the interactions between lipid bilayer membranes and nanoparticles. The particles are nanoscopic Janus beads that comprise both hydrophobic and hydrophilic portions. We demonstrate that when the membrane rips and forms a hole due to an external stress, these nanoparticles diffuse to the edge of the hole and form a stable pore, which persists after the stress is released. Once the particle-lined pore is formed, a small increase in membrane tension readily reopens the pore, allowing transport through the membrane. Besides the application of an external force, the membrane tension can be altered by varying, for example, temperature or pH. Thus, the findings provide guidelines for designing nanoparticle-bilayer assemblies for targeted delivery, where the pores open and the cargo is released only when the local environmental conditions reach a critical value.
This article was published in ACS Nano
and referenced in Current Synthetic and Systems Biology