Heterogeneous oxidization of graphene nanosheets damages membrane

QC Wang and XB Zhai and M Crowe and L Gou and YF Li and DC Li and L Zhang and JJ Diao and BH Ji, SCIENCE CHINA-PHYSICS MECHANICS & ASTRONOMY, 62, 064611 (2019).

DOI: 10.1007/s11433-018-9317-7

Graphene-based materials exhibit unique properties that have been sought to utilize for various potential applications. Many studies suggest that graphene-based materials can be cytotoxic, which may be attributed to destructive effects on cell membranes. However, there still are conflicting results regarding interactions between graphene-based materials and lipid membranes. Here, through cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) and dye-leakage experiments along with in silico methods, we found that graphene oxide nanosheets induce significant membrane damage, while the effect of pristine graphene is negligible. We revealed the importance of heterogeneous oxidization of graphene-based nanosheets in damaging vesicle membranes. Moreover, that not only the oxidization degree but also the oxidization loci and membrane tension play important roles in the cytotoxicity of the graphene-based nanosheets.

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