Gaining precise control over the cellular entry pathway of nanomaterials is key in achieving cytosolic delivery, accessing subcellular environments, and regulating toxicity. However, this precise control requires a fundamental understanding of the behavior of nanomaterials at the bio-nano interface. Herein, we report a computational study investigating the synergistic effect of several key physicochemical properties of nanomaterials on their cellular entry pathways. By examining interactions between monolayer-protected nanoparticles and model cell membranes in a three-dimensional parameter space of size, surface charge/pKa, and ligand chemistry, we observed four different types of nanoparticle translocation for cellular entry which are: outer wrapping, free translocation, inner attach, and embedment. Nanoparticle size, surface charge/pKa, and ligand chemistry each play a unique role in determining the outcome of translocation. Specifically, membrane local curvature induced by nanoparticles upon contact is critical for initiating the translocation process. A generalized paradigm is proposed to describe the fundamental mechanisms underlying the bio-nano interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)