Room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) are a vast class of organic non-aqueous electrolytes whose interaction with biomolecules is receiving great attention for potential applications in bio-nano-technology. Recently, it has been shown that RTILs dispersed at low concentrations at the water-biomembrane interface diffuse into the lipid region of the biomembrane, without disrupting the integrity of the bilayer structure. In this letter, we present the first exploratory study on the effect of absorbed RTILs on the mechanoelasticity of a model biomembrane. Using atomic force microscopy, we found that both the rupture force and the elastic modulus increase upon the insertion of RTILs into the biomembrane. This preliminary result points to the potential use of RTILs to control the mechanoelasticity of cell membranes, opening new avenues for applications in bio-medicine and, more generally, bio-nano-technology. The variety of RTILs offers a vast playground for future studies and potential applications.
Biophysical Reviews – Springer Journals
Published: May 12, 2018
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