Metal-oxide Nanoparticles Affect the Functionality of Voltage Gated Channels
Nanosize metal-oxide particles possess exotic and novel physical and chemical properties compared to their bulk counterpart, which make them ideal candidates for innovative applications ranging from engineering to health care. These same chemical and physical properties that make these nanoparticles unique may also be a source of hazardous biological activities including cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, neurotoxicity and oxidative stress. Our current understanding of the interactions between nanomaterials and biological systems is still not fully understood. Our studies comprised of using Lysenin as a model biological voltage gated channel inserted into artificial Bilayer Lipid Membranes, and assessing the impact of charged nanoparticles on the functionality of the voltage gated channels. Addition of particular nanoparticles to the bulk solution dramatically reduced the macroscopic ionic conductance of lysenin channels, demonstrating that such nanoparticles can affect cells’ viability without internalization by hindering the transport. Further experiments suggested an electrostatic interaction between lysenin channels and nanoparticles as responsible for the observed ionic transport inhibition. Such observations shed more light on the intricate interactions between nanomaterials and living cells, while opening new avenues for developing applications based on specific interactions between nanomaterials and components of the cell membrane.