Liposomal Treatment of Cancer Cells Modulates Uptake Pathway of Polymeric Nanoparticles by Altering Membrane Stiffness


Nanomedicines can be taken up by cells via nonspecific and dynamin‐dependent (energy‐dependent) clathrin and caveolae‐mediated endocytosis. While significant effort has focused on targeting pathway‐specific transporters, the role of nanobiophysics in the cell lipid bilayer nanoparticle uptake pathway remains largely unexplored. In this study, it is demonstrated that stiffness of lipid bilayer is a key determinant of uptake of liposomes by mammalian cells. Dynamin‐mediated endocytosis (DME) of liposomes is found to correlate with its phase behavior, with transition toward solid phase promoting DME, and transition toward fluidic phase resulting in dynamin‐independent endocytosis. Since liposomes can transfer lipids to cell membrane, it is sought to engineer the biophysical properties of the membrane of breast epithelial tumor cells (MD‐MBA‐231) by treatment with phosphatidylcholine liposomes, and elucidate its effect on the uptake of polymeric nanoparticles. Analysis of the giant plasma membrane vesicles derived from treated cells using flicker spectroscopy reveals that liposome treatment alters membrane stiffness and DME of nanoparticles. Since liposomes have a history of use in drug delivery, localized priming of tumors with liposomes may present a hitherto unexploited means of targeting tumors based on biophysical interactions.
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