Nonspecific Colloidal-Type Interaction Explains Size-Dependent Specific Binding of Membrane-Targeted Nanoparticles
Journal article, 2016

Emerging biomedical applications such as molecular imaging and drug delivery often require directed binding of nanoparticles to cell-membrane receptors. The specific apparent affinity of such ligand-functionalized particles is size-dependent, an observation so far solely attributed to multivalent receptor ligand interaction. We question the universality of this explanation by demonstrating that the binding kinetics also depends on weak, attractive colloidal-type interaction between nanoparticles and a lipid membrane. Applying label-free single-particle imaging, we correlate binding of nanoparticles targeted to a cell-mimetic lipid membrane with the distribution of nontargeted particles freely diffusing close to the membrane interface. This analysis shows that already a weak, k(B) T-scale attraction present between 50 nm gold nanoparticles and the membrane renders these particles an order of magnitude higher avidity compared to 20 nm particles. A stronger emphasis on nonspecific particle membrane interaction might thus be required to accurately predict nanoparticle targeting and other similar processes such as cellular uptake of exosomes and viruses.

lipid-membrane interaction

targeted nanoparticles

DLVO interaction


quartz crystal microbalance

single-particle imaging


Anders Lundgren

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Björn Agnarsson

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

R. Zirbs

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Vladimir Zhdanov

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

E. Reimhult

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences

Fredrik Höök

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

ACS Nano

1936-0851 (ISSN) 1936-086X (eISSN)

Vol. 10 11 9974-9982

Subject Categories

Other Physics Topics

Nano Technology



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