American Chemical Society
ct3c00687_si_001.pdf (5.51 MB)

Particle Deformability Enables Control of Interactions between Membrane-Anchored Nanoparticles

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-16, 22:03 authored by Nikhil Nambiar, Zachary A. Loyd, Steven M. Abel
Nanoparticles adsorbed on a membrane can induce deformations of the membrane that give rise to effective interactions between the particles. Previous studies have focused primarily on rigid nanoparticles with fixed shapes. However, DNA origami technology has enabled the creation of deformable nanostructures with controllable shapes and mechanical properties, presenting new opportunities to modulate interactions between particles adsorbed on deformable surfaces. Here we use coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to investigate deformable, hinge-like nanostructures anchored to lipid membranes via cholesterol anchors. We characterize deformations of the particles and membrane as a function of the hinge stiffness. Flexible particles adopt open configurations to conform to a flat membrane, whereas stiffer particles induce deformations of the membrane. We further show that particles spontaneously aggregate and that cooperative effects lead to changes in their shape when they are close together. Using umbrella sampling methods, we quantify the effective interaction between two particles and show that stiffer hinge-like particles experience stronger and longer-ranged attraction. Our results demonstrate that interactions between deformable, membrane-anchored nanoparticles can be controlled by modifying mechanical properties of the particles, suggesting new ways to modulate the self-assembly of particles on deformable surfaces.