Examination of nonendocytotic bulk transport of nanoparticles across phospholipid membranes

Shayla K. Banerji, Mark Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Nonendocytotic transport is believed to play a role in the transmigration of particles less than 100 nm within biological systems. Determining the fundamental mechanism of this transport across cell membranes is essential if nanotechnology is to be utilized in general medical practice and may lead to methods of treating the deleterious internalization of ambient, possibly pollutant, nanoparticles. In order to gain a broader understanding of nonendocytotic transmembrane transport, it becomes essential to devise a method which allows the isolation of fundamental modes of transport such as passive Brownian diffusion through a membrane, as opposed to effusion-like transport of particles through transmembrane channels. The passive Brownian diffusion contribution was investigated using gold nanoparticles and mimetic biomembranes. Specifically, gold nanoparticle dispersions consisting of 7, 10, and 15 nm diameter particles were captured in giant unilamelar vesicles composed of phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidic acid, and cholesterol. Nonendocytotic transmembrane transport was modeled as the time derivative of the appearance of nanoparticles in the phosphate buffer outside the vesicles at 37°C. The results show the transport rate to be zero; hence, a simple diffusive process of transmembrane transport is not supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3305-3313
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 13 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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