Mastering Electric Fields at the Atomic Level to Transport Drugs and Biomarkers Across the Plasma Membrane Into Living Cells
Certain biological molecules locally disrupt the cell plasma membrane by establishing specific electrostatic interactions and efficiently enter into living cells in a non-endocytotic energy-independent manner transporting a wide range of cargoes, including drugs and biomarkers. The mechanism by which these highly cationic molecules efficiently cross the hydrophobic barrier imposed by the plasma membrane has remained as a fundamental open question. I will present a central electrostatic mechanism based on a combination of computational, in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence that reveals an efficient energy-independent cellular uptake mechanism for arginine-rich molecules. I will show how to apply these principles, which appear to be universal across cells from different species and kingdoms, to design, visualize and deliver drugs and biomarkers in living cells. Furthermore, I show how these molecules can be combined with microwaves to synergistically enhance the delivery of biologically relevant molecules into living cells.