American Chemical Society
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Membrane Nanopores Induced by Nanotoroids via an Insertion and Pore-Forming Pathway

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-10-08, 13:14 authored by Fangsheng Wu, Xiao Jin, Zhou Guan, Jiaping Lin, Chunhua Cai, Liquan Wang, Yongsheng Li, Shaoliang Lin, Pengfei Xu, Liang Gao
The formation of membrane nanopores is one of the crucial activities of cells and has attracted considerable attention. However, the understanding of their types and mechanisms is still limited. Herein, we report a novel nanopore formation phenomenon achieved through the insertion of polymeric nanotoroids into the cellular membrane. As revealed by theoretical simulations, the nanotoroid can embed in the membrane, leaving a nanopore on the cell. The through-the-cavity wrapping of lipids is critical for the retention of the nanotoroid in the membrane, which is attributed to both a relatively large inner cavity of the nanotoroid and a moderate attraction between the nanotoroid and membrane lipids. Under the guidance of the simulation predictions, experiments using polypeptide toroids as pore-forming agents were performed, confirming the unique biophysical phenomenon. This work demonstrates a distinctive pore-forming pathway, deepens the understanding of the membrane nanopore phenomenon, and assists in the design of advanced pore-forming materials.