TitleDifferential flexibility leading to crucial microelastic properties of asymmetric lipid vesicles for cellular transfection: A combined spectroscopic and atomic force microscopy studies.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsMukherjee D, Rakshit T, Singh P, Mondal S, Paul D, Ahir M, Adhikari A, Puthiyapurayil TP, Vemula PKumar, Senapati D, Das R, Pal SKumar
JournalColloids Surf B Biointerfaces
Date Published2020 Sep 21

The role of microscopic elasticity of nano-carriers in cellular uptake is an important aspect in biomedical research. Herein we have used AFM nano-indentation force spectroscopy and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements to probe microelastic properties of three novel cationic liposomes based on di-alkyl dihydroxy ethyl ammonium chloride based lipids having asymmetry in their hydrophobic chains (Lip1818, Lip1814 and Lip1810). AFM data reveals that symmetry in hydrophobic chains of a cationic lipid (Lip1818) imparts higher rigidity to the resulting liposomes than those based on asymmetric lipids (Lip1814 and Lip1810). The stiffness of the cationic liposomes is found to decrease with increasing asymmetry in the hydrophobic lipid chains in the order of Lip1818 > Lip1814 > lip1810. FRET measurements between Coumarin 500 (Donor) and Merocyanine 540 (Acceptor) have revealed that full width at half-maxima (hw) of the probability distribution (P(r)) of donor-acceptor distance (r), increases in an order Lip1818 < Lip1814 < Lip1810 with increasing asymmetry of the hydrophobic lipid chains. This increase in width (hw) of the donor-acceptor distance distributions is reflective of increasing flexibility of the liposomes with increasing asymmetry of their constituent lipids. Thus, the results from AFM and FRET studies are complementary to each other and indicates that an increase in asymmetry of the hydrophobic lipid chains increases elasticity and or flexibility of the corresponding liposomes. Cell biology experiments confirm that liposomal flexibility or rigidity directly influences their cellular transfection efficiency, where Lip1814 is found to be superior than the other two liposomes manifesting that a critical balance between flexibility and rigidity of the cationic liposomes is key to efficient cellular uptake. Taken together, our studies reveal how asymmetry in the molecular architecture of the hydrophobic lipid chains influences the microelastic properties of the liposomes, and hence, their cellular uptake efficiency.

Alternate JournalColloids Surf B Biointerfaces
PubMed ID32992288