Probing the interaction of oppositely charged gold nanoparticles with DPPG and DPPC Langmuir monolayers as cell membrane models


The growing use of nanoparticles in a variety of applications calls for detailed studies of their toxicology, which in turn require understanding the interactions between nanoparticles and living cells. Since simulating the interaction with real cell membranes is rather complex, Langmuir monolayers (LMs) have been used to mimic the first barrier encountered by a nanoparticle as it approaches a biological membrane to assess molecular-level interactions. In this study, we show how oppositely charged gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) interact with monolayers of the zwitterionic dipalmitoylphosphatidyl choline (DPPC) and negatively charged dipalmitoylphosphatidyl glycerol (DPPG). The monolayers were spread on subphases containing two concentrations of either negatively charged Au-NPs coated with citrate anions or positively charged Au-NPs functionalized with the cationic polyelectrolyte poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH). For DPPG, electrostatic effects dominated which depended strongly on the NPs capping agent, being obviously larger for the positive nanoparticles. The in-plane elasticity for DPPG monolayers within the surface pressure range corresponding to real cell membranes increased with adsorption of positively charged NPs, but decreased with the negative ones. For the zwitterionic DPPC, on the other hand, significant effects only occurred for negatively charged NPs, including a decrease in elasticity. Therefore, it is concluded that the nature, namely the charge of the capping agents, is crucial for the interaction of charged NPs with the cell membrane. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



subject category

Biophysics; Chemistry; Materials Science


Torrano, AA; Pereira, AS; Oliveira, ON; Barros-Timmons, A

our authors


This work was supported by CNPq and FAPESP (Brazil). A. S. Pereira thanks FCT for the grant SFRH/BPD/44398/2008. A. Torrano and O. Oliveira Jr. thank the FAME Masters Program for their scholarships. CICECO acknowledges FCT for the Pest-C/CTM/LA0011/2011 project.

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