Molecular Adsorption and Transport at Liposome Surfaces Studied by Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Second Harmonic Generation Spectroscopy

P Hamal and H Nguyenhuu and VS Don and RR Kumal and R Kumar and RL McCarley and LH Haber, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 123, 7722-7730 (2019).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.9b05954

A fundamental understanding of the factors that determine the interactions with and transport of small molecules through phospholipid membranes is crucial in developing liposome-based drug delivery systems. Here we combine time-dependent second harmonic generation (SHG) measurements with molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the events associated with adsorption and transport of the small molecular cation, malachite green isothiocyanate (MGITC), in colloidal liposomes of different compositions. The molecular transport of MGITC through the liposome bilayer is found to be more rapid in 1,2-dioleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phospho-(1'-rac-glycerol) and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phospho-L-serine (DOPG and DOPS, respectively) liposomes, while the molecular transport is slower in 1,2-dioleoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) liposomes. Interestingly, MGITC is observed to neither adsorb nor transport in trimethyl quinone-1,2 -dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (QPADOPE) liposomes due to shielding by the quinone group. The modified Langmuir adsorption isotherm model is used to determine the free energy of adsorption for MGITC, which is found to be less negative in DOPC than in DOPG and DOPS, caused by lower electrostatic interactions between the positively charged dye and the zwitterionic DOPC liposome surface. The results are compared to our previous investigations, which showed that malachite green (MG) adsorbs and transports in DOPG and DOPS liposomes but not in DOPC and QPADOPE liposomes. Molecular dynamics simulations are used to investigate the adsorption and transport properties of MG and MGITC in DOPC and DOPG liposomes using umbrella sampling to determine the free energy profiles and interfacial molecular orientations. Together, these time resolved SHG studies and corresponding molecular dynamics simulations characterize the complicated chemical interactions at different lipid membranes to provide key molecular-level insights for potential drug delivery applications. The results also point toward understanding the role of chemical functional groups, in this case isothiocyanate, in controlling molecular adsorption at and transport through lipid bilayers.

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