Interactions between Liquid Metal Droplets and Bacterial, Fungal, and Mammalian Cells
Advanced Materials Interfaces
Liquid metals (LMs) have emerged as novel materials for biomedical applications. Here, the interactions taking place between cells and LMs are reported, presenting a unique opportunity to explore and understand the LM-biological interface. Several high-resolution imaging techniques are used to characterize the interaction between droplets of gallium LM and bacterial, fungal, and mammalian cells. Adhesive interactions between cells and LM droplets are observed, causing deformation of the LM droplet surface, resulting in surface wrinkling and in some cases, breakage of the native oxide layer present on the LM droplet surface. In many instances, the cell wall deforms to intimately contact the LM droplets. Single-cell force spectroscopy is performed to quantify the adhesion forces between cells and LM and characterize the nature of the adhesion. It is proposed that the flexible nature of the cell enables multiple adhesion sites with the LM droplets, imparting tensile forces on the LM droplet surface, which results in surface wrinkling on the LM droplets due to their liquid nature. Molecular dynamics simulations also suggest that flexible biomolecules on the cell surface can disrupt the Ga2O3 layer formed at the LM droplet surface. This study reveals a unique biointerfacial interaction and provides insights into the mechanisms involved.
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