Adhesion and Aggregation of Spherical Nanoparticles on Lipid Membranes


We present a review of recent results on the adhesion, wrapping and aggregation of spherical nanoparticles (NPs) on lipid membranes via molecular dynamics simulations of an implicit solvent model. We show that the degree of wrapping of small NPs, by tensionless planar membranes, can increase continuously with the adhesion strength. However, the degree of wrapping exhibits a discontinuity for large NPs or short interaction range. The adhesion of NPs to small vesicles, without volume constraint, also exhibits a discontinuity between weakly wrapped states and fully endocytosed states. Multiple spherical NPs, bound to tensionless planar membranes are either in a gas state, at weak adhesion strength, or aggregate, at relatively high adhesion strength, into a multitude of structures, corresponding to in-plane chains, out-of-plane tubes and rings, and out-of-plane single-chain tubes. Annealing scans and free energy calculations show that the gas and tube phases are the predominantly stable phases. In-plane chains are only stable for small aggregates and the out-of-plane bitubes are long-lived metastable states.

Publication Title

Chemistry and Physics of Lipids