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(373b) Forming Trans-Membrane Channels Using End-Functionalized Nanotubes

Authors: 
Dutt, M., University of Pittsburgh
Kuksenok, O., University of Pittsburgh
Little, S. R., University of Pittsburgh, ChroKnow Solutions (r)
Balazs, A. C., University of Pittsburgh


Using dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) simulations, we examine the interaction between amphiphilic nanotubes and lipid bilayer membranes. The nanotubes are represented by a hydrophobic shaft that is end-functionalized with hydrophilic groups. Nanotubes that are capped by a monolayer of hydrophilic beads or also encompass hydrophilic ?hairs? on one just end of the shaft are found to spontaneously penetrate and assume a trans-membrane position; the process, however, depends critically on the membrane tension. On the other hand, nanotubes that include hydrophilic hairs at both ends of the hydrophobic shaft are not observed to spontaneously self-organize into the bilayer. When the membrane is stretched to form a pore, the nanotubes with two hairy ends adsorb on the edge of the pore and become localized in the membrane, thus forming a trans-membrane channel. The findings from these studies provide guidelines for creating biomimetic nanotube channels that are capable of selectively transporting molecules through the membrane in response to changes in the local environment.