Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Liquid Or Solid? Charged Nanoparticles In Lipid Membrane Decide

Date:
November 13, 2008
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
Patchiness in phospholipid membranes is fundamental to their use as biomolecules and biosensors. Using charged nanoparticles, researchers at the University of Illinois have found a new way to stimulate patchiness in phospholipid membranes.

Steve Granick, a Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I., and colleagues have found that a group of organic compounds called lipids can coexist as liquid and solid in membranes. This patchiness in phospholipid membranes is fundamental to their use as biomolecules and biosensors.
Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Like water and ice cubes mixed in a glass, a group of organic compounds called lipids can coexist as liquid and solid in membranes. This patchiness in phospholipid membranes is fundamental to their use as biomolecules and biosensors.

Related Articles


Using charged nanoparticles, researchers at the University of Illinois have found a new way to stimulate patchiness in phospholipid membranes.

"We are seeing a previously unsuspected responsiveness in phospholipid membranes," said Steve Granick, a Founder Professor of Engineering at the U. of I. "What we thought was possible only with the specificity of certain proteins, we now see can happen with simple, charged nanoparticles."

Lipids are the building blocks of cell membranes. In earlier work, Granick and graduate student Liangfang Zhang found a way to stabilize sensitive lipid membranes by attaching charged nanoparticles to the membrane surface.

Now, Granick, Zhang, graduate research assistant Bo Wang and research scientist Sung Chul Bae show that a phospholipid membrane can coexist in two phases – solid and liquid – according to what binds to it. This inherent patchiness presents an additional mechanism for changing the stiffness of phospholipid membranes.

The researchers report their work in a paper to be published next week in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using fluorescence and calorimetry methods, the researchers studied interactions between charged nanoparticles and membranes formed from single-component lipids. Because the membrane was composed of one sole lipid type, the traditional explanation for spatial patchiness – an uneven distribution of different lipids – was eliminated.

While a variety of nanoparticles was used, the most common type was polystyrene spheres about 20 nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter). Where the nanoparticles attached to the membrane, the membrane responded by changing phase.

"The electric charge acted as a switch," Granick said. "Nanoparticles with a negative charge switched membranes from liquid to solid. Nanoparticles with a positive charge switched the membranes from solid to liquid."

Phase changes occurred in patches of membranes where phospholipid molecules swiveled after binding to charged nanoparticles. This binding-induced behavior, where the same lipid can coexist in two different phases, offers a new mechanism for modulating stiffness in membranes.

In future work, the researchers plan to study the effects of smaller, charged nanoparticles; the effects of charged nanoparticles on living cells; and novel ways to stabilize lipid membranes for targeted drug delivery.

"These experiments are helping us better understand both the structure of phospholipid membranes and the potential biological effects of exposure to nanoparticles found in our normal, everyday environment," Granick said.

Granick also is a professor of materials science and engineering, of chemistry, of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and of physics; and he is a researcher at the university's Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory and at the Beckman Institute.

The U.S. Department of Energy funded the work.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Liquid Or Solid? Charged Nanoparticles In Lipid Membrane Decide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110190649.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2008, November 13). Liquid Or Solid? Charged Nanoparticles In Lipid Membrane Decide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110190649.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Liquid Or Solid? Charged Nanoparticles In Lipid Membrane Decide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110190649.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins