Personal electronic devices — smartphones, computers, TVs, tablets, screens of all kinds — are a significant and growing source of the world’s electronic waste. Many of these products use nanomaterials, but little is known about how these modern materials and their tiny particles interact with the environment and living things.
Now a research team of Northwestern University chemists and colleagues from the national Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology has discovered that when certain coated nanoparticles interact with living organisms it results in new properties that cause the nanoparticles to become sticky. Fragmented lipid coronas form on the particles, causing them to stick together and grow into long kelp-like strands. Nanoparticles with 5-nanometer diameters form long structures that are microns in size in solution. The impact on cells is not known.
“Why not make a particle that is benign from the beginning?” said Franz M. Geiger, professor of chemistry in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He led the Northwestern portion of the research.
“This study provides insight into the molecular mechanisms by which nanoparticles interact with biological systems,” Geiger said. “This may help us understand and predict why some nanomaterial/ligand coating combinations are detrimental to cellular organisms while others are not. We can use this to engineer nanoparticles that are benign by design.”
Using experiments and computer simulations, the research team studied how gold nanoparticles wrapped in strings having positively charged beads interact with a variety of bilayer membrane models. The researchers found that a nearly circular layer of lipids forms spontaneously around the particles. Formation of these “fragmented lipid coronas” have never been seen before to form from membranes.
The study points to solving problems with chemistry. Scientists can use the findings to design a better ligand coating for nanoparticles that avoids the ammonium-phosphate interaction, which causes the aggregation. (Ligands are used in nanomaterials for layering.)
Image Credit: Northwestern University
News This Week
A South African laboratory study using Covid-19 samples from an immunosupressed individual over six months showed that the virus evolved to become more pathogenic, indicating that a new variant could cause worse illness than [...]
For the past several months, Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have dominated COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But now, there’s a class of new COVID subvariants on the rise and one in particular is getting plenty of [...]
Nucleic acid therapies involving DNA or RNA have significant potential to treat genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and cancer; however, research suggests that less than 1% of injected nucleic acid doses reach target cells in [...]
The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Hemgenix, a new drug to treat hemophilia. Manufacturer CSL Behring set the price at $3.5 million per treatment, making it the most expensive drug [...]
Some wounds just won’t heal. Infections, diseases like diabetes, and suppressed immune systems often stack up to slow healing. Chronic wounds can last months and lead to anxiety and depression. In the worst cases, [...]
Over the years, researchers have tried hard to comprehend topographic signals that promote cell mechanical sensitive responses. The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides a complex cellular microenvironment that controls cellular behavior. Nevertheless, only a few [...]
There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) [...]
In a recent study, it was shown that people with long Covid have had physical changes to their brains several months after experiencing the initial infection. The study included MRIs of patients who continued [...]
Western University in London, Ont., is building a unique research lab to study humanity's greatest viral threats — a secret weapon, if you will, one that it's expected would put Canada and the world in a better position if [...]
Cancer patients are testing a medicine made of antibodies that were designed from scratch on a computer in Israel and whose inventor has “programmed” them to “decide” whether cells surrounding tumors are bad or good. [...]
In an article published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers presented the potentiostatic deposition used to electrodeposit nickel (Ni) and nickel-graphene (Ni-G) films on copper substrates. Myristic acid (MA) was employed to alter the plane of the [...]
Oregon State University scientists have invented a way to make magnetic nanoparticles that get hotter than any previous nanoparticle, improving their cancer fighting ability. Faculty from the OSU College of Pharmacy spearheaded a collaboration [...]
November 14, 2022 -- Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have developed a nanotechnology platform that changes the immune system's perception of solid tumor cells, making them more receptive to immunotherapy. [...]
Nanotechnology platform enables immune conversion of cancer cells, sensitizing them to immunotherapy
A team of researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed a nanotechnology platform that can change the way the immune system sees solid tumor cells, making them more receptive [...]
Researchers learn to engineer growth of crystalline materials consisting of nanometer-size gold clusters
First insights into engineering crystal growth by atomically precise metal nanoclusters have been achieved in a study performed by researchers in Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Finland. The work was published in Nature Chemistry ("Supercrystal engineering of [...]