Cell migration is a universal and crucial mechanism for life. It is required in a series of physiological processes, in wound repair and immune response and is involved in several pathological conditions, including cancer and virus dissemination. Among the several biochemical and biophysical routes, changing cell membrane elasticity holds the promise to be a universal strategy to alter cell mobility. Due to their affinity with cell membranes, ionic liquids (ILs) may play an important role. This work focuses on the effect of subtoxic amounts of imidazolium-ILs on the migration of the model cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. Here we show that ILs are able to enhance cell mobility by reducing the elasticity of the cellular lipid membrane, and that both mobility and elasticity can be tuned by IL-concentration and IL-cation chain length. This biochemical-physical mechanism is potentially valid for all mammalian cells, and its impact in bionanomedicine and bionanotechnology is discussed.
Kumari, P., Pillai, V.V.S., Rodriguez, B.J., Prencipe, M., Benedetto, A. (2020). Sub-Toxic Concentrations of Ionic Liquids Enhance Cell Migration by Reducing the Elasticity of the Cellular Lipid Membrane. THE JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LETTERS, 11(17), 7327-7333 [10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02149].