Friday, August 19, 2016

Binding and Fusion of Extracellular Vesicles to the Plasma Membrane of Their Cell Targets

Ilaria Prada and Jacopo Meldolesi

Exosomes and ectosomes, extracellular vesicles of two types generated by all cells at multivesicular bodies and the plasma membrane, respectively, play critical roles in physiology and pathology. A key mechanism of their function, analogous for both types of vesicles, is the fusion of their membrane to the plasma membrane of specific target cells, followed by discharge to the cytoplasm of their luminal cargo containing proteins, RNAs, and DNA. Here we summarize the present knowledge about the interactions, binding and fusions of vesicles with the cell plasma membrane. The sequence initiates with dynamic interactions, during which vesicles roll over the plasma membrane, followed by the binding of specific membrane proteins to their cell receptors. Membrane binding is then converted rapidly into fusion by mechanisms analogous to those of retroviruses. Specifically, proteins of the extracellular vesicle membranes are structurally rearranged, and their hydrophobic sequences insert into the target cell plasma membrane which undergoes lipid reorganization, protein restructuring and membrane dimpling. Single fusions are not the only process of vesicle/cell interactions. Upon intracellular reassembly of their luminal cargoes, vesicles can be regenerated, released and fused horizontally to other target cells. Fusions of extracellular vesicles are relevant also for specific therapy processes, now intensely investigated.


Optical pulling force on a magneto-dielectric Rayleigh sphere in Bessel tractor polarized beams

F.G. Mitri, R.X. Li, R. Yang, L.X. Guo, C.Y. Ding

The optical radiation force induced by Bessel (vortex) beams on a magneto-dielectric subwavelength sphere is investigated with particular emphasis on the beam polarization and orderl(or topological charge). The analysis is focused on identifying the regions and some of the conditions to achieve retrograde motion of the sphere centered on the axis of wave propagation of the incident beam, or shifted off-axially. Exact non-paraxial analytical solutions are established, and computations for linear, circular, radial, azimuthal and mixed polarizations of the individual plane wave components forming the Bessel (vortex) beams by means of the angular spectrum decomposition method (ASDM) illustrate the theory with particular emphasis on the tractor (i.e. reversal) behavior of the force. This effect results in the pulling of the magneto-dielectric sphere against the forward linear momentum density flux associated with the incoming waves. Should some conditions related to the choice of the beam parameters as well as the permittivity and permeability of the sphere be met, the optical force vanishes and reverses sign. Moreover, the beam polarization is shown to affect differently the axial negative pulling force for either the zeroth- or the first-order Bessel beam. When the sphere is centered on the beam′s axis, the axial force component is always negative for the zeroth-order Bessel beam except for the radial and azimuthal polarization configurations. Nonetheless, for the first-order Bessel beam, the axial force is negative for the radial polarization case only. Additional tractor beam effects arise when the sphere departs from the center of the beam. It is also demonstrated that the tractor beam effect arises from the force component originating from the cross-interaction between the electric and magnetic dipoles. Potential applications are in particle manipulation, optical levitation, tractor beam tweezers, and other emergent technologies using polarized Bessel beams on a small (Rayleigh) magneto-dielectric particle.


Rewritable three-dimensional holographic data storage via optical forces

Ali K. Yetisen, Yunuen Montelongo and Haider Butt

The development of nanostructures that can be reversibly arranged and assembled into 3D patterns may enable optical tunability. However, current dynamic recording materials such as photorefractive polymers cannot be used to store information permanently while also retaining configurability. Here, we describe the synthesis and optimization of a silver nanoparticle doped poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) recording medium for reversibly recording 3D holograms. We theoretically and experimentally demonstrate organizing nanoparticles into 3D assemblies in the recording medium using optical forces produced by the gradients of standing waves. The nanoparticles in the recording medium are organized by multiple nanosecond laser pulses to produce reconfigurable slanted multilayer structures. We demonstrate the capability of producing rewritable optical elements such as multilayer Bragg diffraction gratings, 1D photonic crystals, and 3D multiplexed optical gratings. We also show that 3D virtual holograms can be reversibly recorded. This recording strategy may have applications in reconfigurable optical elements, data storage devices, and dynamic holographic displays.


Single cell ionization by a laser trap: a preliminary study in measuring radiation dose and charge in BT20 breast carcinoma cells

Michele Kelley, Ying Gao, and Daniel Erenso

In this work, a preliminary study in the application of a laser trap for ionization of living carcinoma cells is presented. The study was conducted using BT20 breast carcinoma cells cultured and harvested in our laboratory. Each cell, for a total of 50 cells, was trapped and ionized by a high intensity infrared laser at 1064 nm. The threshold radiation dose and the resultant charge from the ionization for each cell were determined. With the laser trap serving as a radiation source, the cell underwent dielectric breakdown of the membrane. When this process occurs, the cell becomes highly charged and its dielectric susceptibility changes. The charge creates an increasing electrostatic force while the changing dielectric susceptibility diminishes the strength of the trapping force. Consequently, at some instant of time the cell gets ejected from the trap. The time inside the trap while the cell is being ionized, the intensity of the radiation, and the post ionization trajectory of the cell were used to determine the threshold radiation dose and the charge for each cell. The measurement of the charge vs ionization radiation dose at single cell level could be useful in the accuracy of radiotherapy as the individual charges can collectively create a strong enough electrical interaction to cause dielectric breakdown in other cells in a tumor.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Contribution of the C-Terminal Tails of Microtubules in Altering the Force Production Specifications of Multiple Kinesin-1

Mitra Shojania Feizabadi

The extent to which beta tubulin isotypes contribute to the function of microtubules and the microtubule-driven transport of molecular motors is poorly understood. The major differences in these isotypes are associated with the structure of their C-terminal tails. Recent studies have revealed a few aspects of the C-terminal tails’ regulatory role on the activities of some of the motor proteins on a single-molecule level. However, little attention is given to the degree to which the function of a team of motor proteins can be altered by the microtubule’s tail. In a set of parallel experiments, we investigated this open question by studying the force production of several kinesin-1 (kinesin) molecular motors along two groups of microtubules: regular ones and those microtubules whose C-terminals are cleaved by subtilisin digestion. The results indicate that the difference between the average of the force production of motors along two types of microtubules is statistically significant. The underlying mechanism of such production is substantially different as well. As compared to untreated microtubules, the magnitude of the binding time of several kinesin-1 is almost three times greater along subtilisin-treated microtubules. Also, the velocity of the group of kinesin molecules shows a higher sensitivity to external loads and reduces significantly under higher loads along subtilisin-treated microtubules. Together, this work shows the capacity of the tails in fine-tuning the force production characteristics of several kinesin molecules.


Comparison of Methods for Predicting the Compositional Dependence of the Density and Refractive Index of Organic–Aqueous Aerosols

Chen Cai, Rachael E. H. Miles, Michael I. Cotterell, Aleksandra Marsh, Grazia Rovelli, Andrew M. J. Rickards, Yun-hong Zhang, and Jonathan P. Reid

Representing the physicochemical properties of aerosol particles of complex composition is of crucial importance for understanding and predicting aerosol thermodynamic, kinetic, and optical properties and processes and for interpreting and comparing analysis methods. Here, we consider the representations of the density and refractive index of aqueous–organic aerosol with a particular focus on the dependence of these properties on relative humidity and water content, including an examination of the properties of solution aerosol droplets existing at supersaturated solute concentrations. Using bulk phase measurements of density and refractive index for typical organic aerosol components, we provide robust approaches for the estimation of these properties for aerosol at any intermediate composition between pure water and pure solute. Approximately 70 compounds are considered, including mono-, di- and tricarboxylic acids, alcohols, diols, nitriles, sulfoxides, amides, ethers, sugars, amino acids, aminium sulfates, and polyols. We conclude that the molar refraction mixing rule should be used to predict the refractive index of the solution using a density treatment that assumes ideal mixing or, preferably, a polynomial dependence on the square root of the mass fraction of solute, depending on the solubility limit of the organic component. Although the uncertainties in the density and refractive index predictions depend on the range of subsaturated compositional data available for each compound, typical errors for estimating the solution density and refractive index are less than ±0.1% and ±0.05%, respectively. Owing to the direct connection between molar refraction and the molecular polarizability, along with the availability of group contribution models for predicting molecular polarizability for organic species, our rigorous testing of the molar refraction mixing rule provides a route to predicting refractive indices for aqueous solutions containing organic molecules of arbitrary structure.


Label-free analysis of mononuclear human blood cells in microfluidic flow by coherent imaging tools

David Dannhauser, Domenico Rossi, Pasquale Memmolo, Filippo Causa, Andrea Finizio, Pietro Ferraro, Paolo A. Netti

The investigation of the physical properties of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) is of great relevance, as they play a key role in regulating human body health. Here we report the possibility to characterize human PBMC in their physiological conditions in a microfluidic-based measurement system. A viscoelastic polymer solution is adopted for 3D alignment of individual cells inflow. An optical signature (OS) acquisition of each flowing cell is performed using a wide angle light scattering apparatus. Besides, a quantitative phase imaging (QPI) holographic system is employed with the aim (i) to check the position in flow of individual cells using a holographic 3D cell tracking method; and (ii) to estimate their 3D morphometric features, such as their refractive index (RI). Results obtained by combining OS and QPI have been compared with literature values, showing good agreement. The results confirm the possibility to obtain sub-micrometric details of physical cell properties in microfluidic flow, avoiding chemical staining or fluorescent labelling.


Mechanical Properties of the Tumor Stromal Microenvironment Probed In Vitro and Ex Vivo by In Situ-Calibrated Optical Trap-Based Active Microrheology

Jack R. Staunton, Wilfred Vieira, King Leung Fung, Ross Lake, Alexus Devine, Kandice Tanner

One of the hallmarks of the malignant transformation of epithelial tissue is the modulation of stromal components of the microenvironment. In particular, aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and stiffening enhances tumor growth and survival and promotes metastasis. Type I collagen is one of the major ECM components. It serves as a scaffold protein in the stroma contributing to the tissue’s mechanical properties, imparting tensile strength and rigidity to tissues such as those of the skin, tendons, and lungs. Here we investigate the effects of intrinsic spatial heterogeneities due to fibrillar architecture, pore size and ligand density on the microscale and bulk mechanical properties of the ECM. Type I collagen hydrogels with topologies tuned by polymerization temperature and concentration to mimic physico-chemical properties of a normal tissue and tumor microenvironment were measured by in situ-calibrated Active Microrheology by Optical Trapping revealing significantly different microscale complex shear moduli at Hz-kHz frequencies and two orders of magnitude of strain amplitude that we compared to data from bulk rheology measurements. Access to higher frequencies enabled observation of transitions from elastic to viscous behavior that occur at ~200–2750 Hz, which largely was dependent on tissue architecture well outside the dynamic range of instrument acquisition possible with SAOS bulk rheology. We determined that mouse melanoma tumors and human breast tumors displayed complex moduli ~5–1000 Pa, increasing with frequency and displaying a nonlinear stress–strain response. Thus, we show the feasibility of a mechanical biopsy in efforts to provide a diagnostic tool to aid in the design of therapeutics complementary to those based on standard histopathology.


Highly tunable plasmonic nanoring arrays for nanoparticle manipulation and detection

M Sergides, V G Truong and S Nic Chormaic

The advancement of trapping and detection of nano-objects at very low laser powers in the near-infra-red region (NIR) is crucial for many applications. Singular visible-light nano-optics based on abrupt phase changes have recently demonstrated a significant improvement in molecule detection. Here, we propose and demonstrate tunable plasmonic nanodevices, which can improve both the trapping field enhancement and detection of nano-objects using singular phase drops in the NIR range. The plasmonic nanostructures, which consist of gaps with dimensions 50 nm × 50 nm connecting nanorings in arrays is discussed. These gaps act as individual detection and trapping sites. The tunability of the system is evident from extinction and reflection spectra while increasing the aperture size in the arrays. Additionally, in the region where the plasmonic nano-array exhibits topologically-protected, near-zero reflection behaviour, the phase displays a rapid change. Our experimental data predict that, using this abrupt phase changes, one can improve the detection sensitivity by 10 times compared to the extinction spectra method. We finally report experimental evidence of 100 nm polystyrene beads trapping using low incident power on these devices. The overall design demonstrates strong capability as an optical, label-free, non-destructive tool for single molecule manipulation where low trapping intensity, minimal photo bleaching and high sensitivity is required.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Confocal Raman Microscopy of Hybrid Supported Phospholipid Bilayers within Individual C18-Functionalized Chromatographic Particles

Jay Preston Kitt and Joel M. Harris

Measuring lipid-membrane partitioning of small molecules is critical to predicting bioavailability and investigating molecule-membrane interactions. A stable model membrane for such studies has been developed through assembly of a phospholipid monolayer on n-alkane-modified surfaces. These hybrid-bilayers have recently been generated within n-alkyl-chain (C18) modified porous silica and used in chromatographic retention studies of small molecules. Despite their successful application, determining the structure of hybrid-bilayers within chromatographic silica is challenging, because they reside at buried interfaces within the porous structure. In this work, we employ confocal Raman microscopy to investigate the formation and temperature-dependent structure of hybrid-phospholipid bilayers in C18-modified, porous-silica chromatographic particles. Porous silica provides sufficient surface area within a confocal probe volume centered in an individual particle to readily measure, with Raman microscopy, the formation of an ordered hybrid-bilayer of 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho¬choline (DMPC) with the surface C18 chains. The DMPC surface density was quantified from the relative Raman scattering intensities of C18 and phospholipid acyl chains and found to be ~40% of a DMPC vesicle membrane. By monitoring Raman spectra acquired versus temperature, the bilayer main phase transition was observed to be broadened and shifted to higher temperature compared to a DMPC vesicle, in agreement with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results. Raman scattering of deuterated phospholipid was resolved from protonated C18-chain scattering, showing that the lipid-acyl and C18 chains melt simultaneously in a single phase transition. The surface-density of lipid in the hybrid bilayer, the ordering of both C18 and lipid acyl chains upon bilayer formation, and decoupling of C18 methylene C H vibrations by deuterated lipid acyl chains all suggest an interdigitated acyl-chain structure. The simultaneous melting of both layers is also consistent with an interdigitated structure, where immobility of surface-grafted C18-chains decreases the cooperativity and increases the melting temperature compared to a vesicle bilayer.