Tamás Fekete, Mária Mészáros, Zsolt Szegletes, Gaszton Vizsnyiczai, László Zimányi, Mária A. Deli, Szilvia Veszelka*, and Lóránd Kelemen


“Targeting nanoparticles as drug delivery platforms is crucial to facilitate their cellular entry. Docking of nanoparticles by targeting ligands on cell membranes is the first step for the initiation of cellular uptake. As a model system, we studied brain microvascular endothelial cells, which form the anatomical basis of the blood–brain barrier, and the tripeptide glutathione, one of the most effective targeting ligands of nanoparticles to cross the blood–brain barrier. To investigate this initial docking step between glutathione and the membrane of living brain endothelial cells, we applied our recently developed innovative optical method. We present a microtool, with a task-specific geometry used as a probe, actuated by multifocus optical tweezers to characterize the adhesion probability and strength of glutathione-coated surfaces to the cell membrane of endothelial cells. The binding probability of the glutathione-coated surface and the adhesion force between the microtool and cell membrane was measured in a novel arrangement: cells were cultured on a vertical polymer wall and the mechanical forces were generated laterally and at the same time, perpendicularly to the plasma membrane. The adhesion force values were also determined with more conventional atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements using functionalized colloidal probes. The optical trapping-based method was found to be suitable to measure very low adhesion forces (≤ 20 pN) without a high level of noise, which is characteristic for AFM measurements in this range. The holographic optical tweezers-directed functionalized microtools may help characterize the adhesion step of nanoparticles initiating transcytosis and select ligands to target nanoparticles.”

Link to Publications Page

Publication: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue/Year: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Volume 13; Number 33; Pages 39018–39029; 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c08454