Single-particle tracking discloses binding-mediated rocking diffusion of rod-shaped biological particles on lipid membranes
It has been demonstrated that rod-shaped particles can achieve a high translocation efficiency for gene and drug delivery in biological samples. Previous theoretical calculations also confirmed that rod-shaped particles display higher diffusivity than their spherical counterparts in biological porous media. Understanding the diffusion dynamics of biological and non-biological rod-shaped particles in biological solutions as well as close to the lipid membrane is therefore fundamentally significant for the rational design of efficient cargos. With dark-field optical microscopy, the translational and three-dimensional (3D) orientational diffusion dynamics of individual rod-shaped particles (i.e., E. coli and upconversion microrods, UCMRs) in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and on the lipid membrane are tracked at the single-particle level. In the buffer solution, faster rotation of E. coli in the z direction was observed even though its dynamics in the x–y plane is comparable with that of UCMRs. Interestingly, on the lipid membrane, distinct from the confined motion of UCMRs, anomalous rocking diffusion was observed, which might facilitate the subsequent survey of stronger association sites on the two-dimensional (2D) surface. These results would afford deep insight into the better understanding of the translocation mechanism by using rod-shaped particles as a delivery cargo in biological samples.