Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids 2017 01 0533(10) 2590-2595 doi 10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b04234
The bioinspired design of ligands for nanoparticle coating with remarkable precision in controlling anisotropic connectivity and with universal binding efficiency to the membrane has made a great impact on nanoparticle self-assembly. We utilize the HIV-1-derived trans-activator of transcription peptide (TAT), a member of the cell-penetrating peptides, as a soft shell coating on gold nanoparticles (GNPs) and characterize TAT pepide-mediated binding behaviors of GNPs on the lipid membrane. Whereas the peptides enable GNPs to firmly attach to the membrane, the binding structures are driven by two electrostatic forces: the interparticle peptide repulsion and the peptide-membrane attraction. Although transmission electron microscopy images showed that the densities of membrane-embedded GNPs were almost equal, X-ray reflectivity revealed a significant difference in binding structures of GNPs along the surface normal upon the increase of charge densities (ϕ) of the membrane. In particular, GNPs were densely suspended at ϕ = 70% while they adopted an additional well-defined layer underneath the membrane at ϕ = 100%, in addition to a translocation of the initially bound particles into the membrane. The observed behaviors of GNPs manifest a 3D to 2D transformation of the self-assembled structures from the diffused state to the closely packed state with the increase in the charge density of the membrane. The present study also provides insights on the binding mechanisms of the cell-penetrating peptide-coated nanoparticles to the lipid membranes, which is a common theme of delivery systems in pharmaceutical research.