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The understanding of the interactions between biomolecules and nanomaterials is of great importance in many areas of nanomedicine and bioapplications. Numerous studies in this area have been performed. However, toxicological aspects involving the interaction between phospholipids and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) remain undefined, especially for those cases in which a protein corona is not formed around the nanomaterial (corona-free nanomaterials). This study focuses on the interaction of Langmuir films of dipalmitoylphosphatidylglycerol (DPPG) and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) with corona-free, single-walled CNTs. Surface pressure-area isotherms and sum-frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy, a non-linear optical technique used to study surfaces and interfaces, were used to investigate the lipid tail orientation and conformation, aiming to understand the interactions between phospholipids and single walled carbon nanotubes functionalized by carboxylic acid (SWCNTs-COOH) at the air-water interface under low ionic strength conditions. Data from isotherms and SFG spectra revealed that the SWCNT adsorption at the air-water interface is induced by the presence of both lipids, although at a lesser extent for DPPG due to its anionic head group, which could result in repulsion of SWCNTs-COOH that also bear a negative charge. Furthermore, lipid monolayers remained conformationally ordered, indicating insertion of SWCNTs into the lipid monolayer. Our results corroborate previous works and simulations in the literature, but made it possible to perform an in-depth investigation of the interaction of these nanomaterials with components of phospholipid membranes.


Thiers Massami Uehara, Juliana Cancino-Bernardi, Paulo Barbeitas Miranda, Valtencir Zucolotto. Investigating the interactions of corona-free SWCNTs and cell membrane models using sum-frequency generation. Soft matter. 2020 Jun 24;16(24):5711-5717

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PMID: 32525195

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