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Nanoparticle-Mediated Mechanical Destruction of Cell Membranes: A Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Study

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posted on 18.07.2017 by Liuyang Zhang, Yiping Zhao, Xianqiao Wang
The effects of binding mode, shape, binding strength, and rotational speed of actively rotating nanoparticles on the integrity of cell membranes have been systematically studied using dissipative particle dynamics simulations. With theoretical analyses of lipid density, surface tension, stress distribution, and water permeation, we demonstrate that the rotation of nanoparticles can provide a strong driving force for membrane rupture. The results show that nanoparticles embedded inside a cell membrane via endocytosis are more capable of producing large membrane deformations under active rotation than nanoparticles attached on the cell membrane surface. Nanoparticles with anisotropic shapes produce larger deformation and have a higher rupture efficiency than those with symmetric shapes. Our findings provide useful design guidelines for a general strategy based on utilizing mechanical forces to rupture cell membranes and therefore destroy the integrity of cells.