Chitosan nanoparticles have been extensively studied for drug and gene delivery. In this paper, monodisperse, low molecular weight (LMW) chitosan nanoparticles were prepared by a novel method based on ionic gelation using sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) as cross-linking agent. The objective of this study was to solve the problem of preparation of chitosan/TPP nanoparticles with high degree of monodispersity and stability, and investigate the effect of various parameters on the formation of LMW chitosan/TPP nanoparticles. It was found that the particle size distribution of the nanoparticles could be significantly narrowed by a combination of decreasing the concentration of acetic acid and reducing the ambient temperature during cross-linking process. The optimized nanoparticles exhibited a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 138 nm with a polydispersity index (PDI) of and a zeta potential of +35 mV, the nanoparticles had good storage stability at room temperature up to at least 20 days.
In a well-executed work, K. M. Haizlip et al. showed that during muscle contraction force and calcium transients are not changing in parallel and that a change in steady-state conditions occurs in multiple phases. A rapid phase, characterized by a fast change in force production, is mirrored by a change in calcium transient amplitude. But during a slow phase that occurs as the muscle proceeds to stabilize at the new frequency, dissociation between the calcium transient amplitude and developed force occurs. This dynamic relationship between force and calcium upon a switch in stimulation frequency unveils the dynamic involvement of a myofilament-based regulation during a change in the cardiac contractile steady-state.
Although membrane fusion plays key roles in intracellular trafficking, neurotransmitter release, and viral infection, its underlying molecular mechanism and its energy landscape are not well understood. In this study, we employed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the fusion mechanism, catalyzed by Ca(2+) ions, of two highly hydrated 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-3-phosphoethanolamine (POPE) micelles. This simulation system mimics the small contact zone between two large vesicles at which the fusion is initiated. Our simulations revealed that Ca(2+) ions are capable of catalyzing the fusion of POPE micelles; in contrast, we did not observe close contact of the two micelles in the presence of only Na(+) or Mg(2+) ions. Determining the free energy landscape of fusion allowed us to characterize the underlying molecular mechanism. The Ca(2+) ions play a key role in catalyzing the micelle fusion in three aspects: creating a more-hydrophobic surface on the micelles, binding two micelles together, and enhancing the formation of the pre-stalk state. In contrast, Na(+) or Mg(2+) ions have relatively limited effects. Effective fusion proceeds through sequential formation of pre-stalk, stalk, hemifused-like, and fused states. The pre-stalk state is the state featuring lipid tails exposed to the inter-micellar space; its formation is the rate-limiting step. The stalk state is the state where a localized hydrophobic core is formed connecting two micelles; its formation occurs in conjunction with water expulsion from the inter-micellar space. This study provides insight into the molecular mechanism of fusion from the points of view of energetics, structure, and dynamics.