Electrostatic Interactions Affect Nanoparticle-Mediated Toxicity to Gram-Negative Bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1

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Nanoscale materials can have cytotoxic effects. Here we present the first combined empirical and theoretical investigation of the influence of electrostatic attraction on nanoparticle cytotoxicity. Modeling electrostatic interactions between cells and 13 nm spheres of zinc oxide nanoparticles provided insight into empirically determined variations of the minimum inhibitory concentrations between four differently charged isogenic strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. We conclude that controlling the electrostatic attraction between nanoparticles and their cellular targets may permit the modulation of nanoparticle cytotoxicity.