Designer Nanoparticles as Robust Superlubrication Vectors.
ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylcholine lipid bilayers or liposomes at interfaces in aqueous environments can provide extremely efficient lubrication. This is attributed to the hydration lubrication mechanism acting at the highly hydrated phosphocholine-headgroup layers exposed at the outer surface of each bilayer. Micelles exposing such phosphocholine groups could be an attractive alternative to liposomes due to their much easier preparation and structure control, but all studies to date of surfactant micelles have revealed that at relatively low normal stresses the surface layers rupture and friction increases abruptly. Here, we examine surface interactions between three kinds of phosphocholine-exposing micelles with different designed structures: single-tail surfactant micelles, homo-oligomeric micelles, and block copolymer micelles. Normal and shear forces between mica surfaces immersed in solutions of these micelles were measured using a surface force balance. The adsorbed layers on the mica were imaged using atomic force microscope, revealing surface structures ranging from wormlike to spherical micelles. The block copolymer micelles showed relatively low coverage arising from their stabilizing corona and consequently poor lubrication (? ? 10-1). In contrast, the surfactant and homo-oligomeric micelles fully covered the mica surface and demonstrated excellent lubrication (? ? O(10-3)). However, while the boundary layer of single-tailed surfactant micelles degraded under moderate pressure, the homo-oligomeric micellar boundary layer was robust at all applied contact pressures in our study (up to about 5 MPa). We attribute the difference to the much greater energy required to remove a homo-oligomeric molecule from its micelle, resulting in far greater stability under pressure and shear.
Project description:Using a surface force balance, we measured normal and shear interactions as a function of surface separation between layers of hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine (HSPC) small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs) adsorbed from dispersion at physiologically high salt concentrations (0.15 M NaNO?). Cryo-scanning electron microscopy shows that each surface is coated by a close-packed HSPC-SUV layer with an overlayer of liposomes on top. A clear attractive interaction between the liposome layers is seen upon approach and separation, followed by a steric repulsion upon further compression. The shear forces reveal low friction coefficients (? = 0.008-0.0006) up to contact pressures of at least 6 MPa, comparable to those observed in the major joints. The spread in ?-values may be qualitatively accounted for by different local liposome structure at different contact points, suggesting that the intrinsic friction of the HSPC-SUV layers at this salt concentration is closer to the lower limit (? = ~0.0006). This low friction is attributed to the hydration lubrication mechanism arising from rubbing of the hydrated phosphocholine-headgroup layers exposed at the outer surface of each liposome, and provides support for the conjecture that phospholipids may play a significant role in biological lubrication.
Project description:Osteoarthritic joints contain lower-molecular-weight (MW) hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid, HA) than healthy joints. To understand the relevance of this HA size effect for joint lubrication, the friction and surface structure of cartilage-emulating surfaces with HA of different MWs were studied using a surface force balance (SFB) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Gelatin (gel)-covered mica surfaces were coated with high-MW HA (HHA), medium-MW HA (MHA), or low-MW HA (LHA), and lipids of hydrogenated soy l-?-phosphatidylcholine (HSPC) in the form of small unilamellar vesicles, using a layer-by-layer assembly method. SFB results indicate that the gel-HHA-HSPC boundary layer provides very efficient lubrication, attributed to hydration lubrication at the phosphocholine headgroups exposed by the HA-attached lipids, with friction coefficients (COF) as low as 10-3-10-4 at contact stresses at least up to P = 120 atm. However, for the gel-MHA-HSPC and gel-LHA-HSPC surfaces, the friction, initially low, increases sharply at much lower pressures (up to 30-60 atm at most). This higher friction with the shorter chains may be due to their weaker total adhesion energy to the gelatin, where the attraction between the negatively charged HA and the weakly positively charged gelatin is attributed largely to counterion-release entropy. Thus, the complexes of LHA and MHA with the lubricating HSPC lipids are more easily removed by shear during sliding, especially at high stresses, than the HHA-HSPC complex, which is strongly adhered to gelatin. This is ultimately the reason for lower-pressure lubrication breakdown with the shorter polysaccharides. Our results provide molecular-level insight into why the decrease in HA molecular weight in osteoarthritic joints may be associated with higher friction at the articular cartilage surface, and may have relevance for treatments of osteoarthritis involving intra-articular HA injections.
Project description:Integrins are heterodimeric membrane proteins that regulate essential processes: cell migration, cell growth, extracellular matrix assembly and tumor metastasis. Each integrin ? or ? subunit contains a large extracellular domain, a single transmembrane (TM) domain, and a short cytoplasmic tail. The integrin TM domains are important for heterodimeric association and dissociation during the conversion from inactive to active states. Moreover, integrin clustering occurs by homo-oligomeric interactions between the TM helices. Here, the transmembrane and cytoplasmic (TMC) domains of integrin ?1a were overexpressed, and the protein was purified in detergent micelles and/or reconstituted in liposomes. To investigate the TM domain conformational properties of integrin ?1a, 26 consecutive single cysteine mutants were generated for site-directed spin labeling and continuous-wave electron paramagnetic resonance (CW-EPR) mobility and accessibility analyses. The mobility analysis identified two integrin ?1a-TM regions with different motional properties in micelles and a non-continuous integrin ?1a-TM helix with high immobility in liposomes. The accessibility analysis verified the TM range (Val737-Lys752) of the integrin ?1a-TMC in micelles. Further mobility and accessibility comparisons of the integrin ?1a-TMC domains in micelles or liposomes identified distinctively different oligomeric states of integrin ?1a-TM, namely a monomer embedded in detergent micelles and leucine-zipper-like homo-oligomeric clusters in liposomes.
Project description:We have synthesized a range of zwitterionic amphiphilic diblock copolymers with the same hydrophilic block (carboxybetaine) but with different hydrophobic blocks (n-butylmethacrylate (n-BMA) or 2-ethylhexylacrylate (EHA)) by the reversible addition⁻fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization method. Herein, we systematically examined the role of hydrophobicity and salt concentration dependency of surface activity and micellization behaviour of block copolymer. Transition from surface active to non-surface active occurred with increasing hydrophobicity of the hydrophobic block of block copolymer (i.e., replacing P(n-BMA) by PEHA). Foam formation of block copolymer slightly decreased with the similar variation of the hydrophobic block of block copolymer. Block copolymer with higher hydrophobicity preferred micelle formation rather than adsorption at the air⁻water interface. Dynamic light scattering studies showed that block copolymer having P(n-BMA) produced near-monodisperse micelles, whereas block copolymer composed of PEHA produced polydisperse micelles. Zimm plot results revealed that the value of the second virial coefficient (A₂) changed from positive to negative when the hydrophobic block of block copolymer was changed from P(n-BMA) to PEHA. This indicates that the solubility of block copolymer having P(n-BMA) in water may be higher than that of block copolymer having PEHA in water. Unlike ionic amphiphilic block copolymer micelles, the micellar shape of zwitterionic amphiphilic block copolymer micelles is not affected by addition of salt, with a value of packing parameters of block copolymer micelles of less than 0.3.
Project description:Mixtures of amphiphilic polymers and surfactants are used in a wide range of applications, e.g., pharmaceuticals, detergents, cosmetics, and drug delivery systems. Still, many questions remain on how the structure and, in particular, the kinetics of block copolymer micelles are affected in the presence of surfactants and what controls the solubilization kinetics. In this work, we have studied the stability and solubilization kinetics of block copolymer micelles upon the addition of the surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) using small-angle X-ray/neutron scattering. The ability of the surfactant to dissolve polymer micelles or form mixed micelles has been investigated using two types of amphiphilic polymers, poly(ethylene-alt-propylene)-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEP1-PEO20) and n-alkyl-functionalized PEO (C28-PEO5). The exchange kinetics of C28-PEO5 micelles are in the order of hours, while PEP1-PEO20 micelles are known to be frozen on a practical timescale. In this work, we show that the addition of SDS to PEP1-PEO20 provides virtually no solubilization, even after an extended period of time. However, upon adding SDS to C28-PEO5 micelles, we observe micellar dissolution and formation of mixed micelles occurring on the timescale of hours. Using a coexistence model of mixed and neat micelles, the SAXS data were analyzed to provide detailed structural parameters over time. First, we observe a fast fragmentation/fission step followed by a slow reorganization process. The latter process is essentially independent of concentration at low volume fraction but is greatly accelerated at larger concentrations. This might indicate a crossover from a predominance of molecular exchange to fusion/fission processes.
Project description:We envision that CaWO4 (CWO) nanocrystals have the potential for use in biomedical imaging and therapy because of the unique ways this material interacts with high-energy radiation. These applications, however, require development of nanoparticle (NP) formulations that are suitable for in vivo applications; primarily, the formulated nanoparticles should be sufficiently small, chemically and biologically inert, and stable against aggregation under physiological conditions. The present study demonstrates one such method of formulation, in which CWO nanoparticles are encapsulated in bioinert block copolymer (BCP) micelles. For this demonstration, we prepared three different CWO nanocrystal samples having different sizes (3, 10, and 70 nm in diameter) and shapes (elongated vs truncated rhombic). Depending on the specific synthesis method used, the as-synthesized CWO NPs contain different surfactant materials (citric acid or cetyltrimethylammonium bromide or a mixture of oleic acid and oleylamine) in the coating layers. Regardless of the type of surfactant, the original surfactant coating can be replaced with a new enclosure formed by BCP materials using a solvent-exchange method. Two types of BCPs have been tested: poly(ethylene glycol-block-n-butyl acrylate) (PEG-PnBA) and poly(ethylene glycol-block-D,L-lactic acid) (PEG-PLA). Both BCPs are able to produce fully PEGylated CWO NPs that are stable against aggregation under physiological salt conditions for very long periods of time (at least three months). The optical and radio luminescence properties of both BCP-encapsulated and surfactant-coated CWO NPs were extensively characterized. The study confirms that the BCP coating structure does not influence the luminescence properties of CWO NPs.
Project description:The plasma membrane is the crucial interface between the cell and its exterior, packed with embedded proteins experiencing simultaneous protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions. A prominent example of cell membrane complexity is the assembly of transmembrane proteins into oligomeric structures, with potential functional consequences that are not well understood. From the study of proteorhodopsin (PR), a prototypical seven-transmembrane light-driven bacterial proton pump, we find evidence that the inter-protein interaction modulated by self-association yields functional changes observable from the protein interior. We also demonstrate that the oligomer is likely a physiologically relevant form of PR, as crosslinking of recombinantly expressed PR reveals an oligomeric population within the Escherichia coli membrane (putatively hexameric). Upon chromatographic isolation of oligomeric and monomeric PR in surfactant micelles, the oligomer exhibits distinctly different optical absorption properties from monomeric PR, as reflected in a prominent decrease in the pKa of the primary proton acceptor residue (D97) and slowing of the light-driven conformational change. These functional effects are predominantly determined by specific PR-PR contacts over nonspecific surfactant interactions. Interestingly, varying the surfactant type alters the population of oligomeric states and the proximity of proteins within an oligomer, as determined by sparse electron paramagnetic resonance distance measurements. Nevertheless, the dynamic surfactant environment retains the key function-tuning property exerted by oligomeric contacts. A potentially general design principle for transmembrane protein function emerges from this work, one that hinges on specific oligomeric contacts that can be modulated by protein expression or membrane composition.
Project description:The monomer-micelle equilibrium is shown to be responsible for an asymmetry between surfactant adsorption and desorption rates. When a solution containing micelles is brought into contact with a solid surface, the micelles dissociate to supply monomers that adsorb to the surface. When the same surface is subsequently exposed to a surfactant-free solution, desorption occurs slowly because of the higher affinity of the monomers to remain to the surface than to form micelles. As a result, the number of monomers that desorb is limited by the critical micelle concentration (CMC) of the surfactant. This effect is particularly pronounced for surfactants with low CMC values and in systems with high surface-to-volume ratios, such as porous media. A generic model is developed and applied to simulate the Ca<sup>2+</sup>-mediated adsorption and desorption of surfactants in limestone cores.
Project description:Docetaxel (DTX)-loaded polymeric micelles (DTBM) were formulated using the triblock copolymer, poly(ethylene glycol)-polylactide-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-PLA-PEG), to comprehensively study their pharmaceutical application as anticancer nanomedicine. DTBM showed a stable formulation of anticancer nanomedicine that could be reconstituted after lyophilization (DTBM-R) in the presence of PEG 2000 and D-mannitol (Man) as surfactant and protectant, respectively. DTBM-R showed a particle size less than 150?nm and greater than 90% of DTX recovery after reconstitution. The robustly formed micelles might minimize systemic toxicity due to their sustained drug release and also maximize antitumor efficacy through increased accumulation and release of DTX from the micelles. From the pharmaceutical development point of view, DTBM-R showing successful reconstitution could be considered as a potent nanomedicine for tumor treatment.
Project description:Surface decontamination is of general concern in many technical fields including optics, electronics, medical environments, as well as art conservation. In this respect, we developed thin copolymer networks covalently bonded to flexible polyethylene (PE) sheets for hydrogel-based cleaning of varnished paintings. The syntheses of acrylates and methacrylates of the surfactants Triton X-100, Brij 35, and Ecosurf EH-3 or EH-9 and their incorporation into copolymers with acrylamide (PAM) and N-(4-benzoylphenyl)acrylamide are reported. Photocrosslinked polymer networks were prepared from these copolymers on corona-treated PE sheets, which can be swollen with aqueous solution to form hydrogel layers. The cleaning efficacy of these PE-PAM hydrogel systems, when swollen with appropriate cleaning solutions, was evaluated on painting surfaces in dependence of the PAM copolymer composition and degree of crosslinking. Specifically, soil and varnish removal and varnish surface solubilization were assessed on mock-ups as well as on paintings, indicating that even surfactant-free cleaning solutions were effective.