Interaction of Laponite with Membrane Components-Consequences for Bacterial Aggregation and Infection Confinement

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The antimicrobial effects of Laponite nanoparticles with or without loading of the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 was investigated along with their membrane interactions. The study combines data from ellipsometry, circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, particle size/ζ potential measurements, and confocal microscopy. As a result of the net negative charge of Laponite, loading of net positively charged LL-37 increases with increasing pH. The peptide was found to bind primarily to the outer surface of the Laponite nanoparticles in a predominantly helical conformation, leading to charge reversal. Despite their net positive charge, peptide-loaded Laponite nanoparticles did not kill Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria or disrupt anionic model liposomes. They did however cause bacteria flocculation, originating from the interaction of Laponite and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Free LL-37, in contrast, is potently antimicrobial through membrane disruption but does not induce bacterial aggregation in the concentration range investigated. Through LL-37 loading of Laponite nanoparticles, the combined effects of bacterial flocculation and membrane lysis are observed. However, bacteria aggregation seems to be limited to Gram-negative bacteria as Laponite did not cause flocculation of Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis bacteria nor did it bind to lipoteichoic acid from bacterial envelopes. Taken together, the present investigation reports several novel phenomena by demonstrating that nanoparticle charge does not invariably control membrane destabilization and by identifying the ability of anionic Laponite nanoparticles to effectively flocculate Gram-negative bacteria through LPS binding. As demonstrated in cell experiments, such aggregation results in diminished LPS-induced cell activation, thus outlining a promising approach for confinement of infection and inflammation caused by such pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
JournalA C S Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)15389-15400
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

ID: 223874490