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Cell shape recognition by colloidal cell imprints: Energy of the cell-imprint interaction

Borovicka, Josef; Stoyanov, Simeon D.; Paunov, Vesselin N.


Josef Borovicka

Simeon D. Stoyanov

Vesselin N. Paunov


The results presented in this study are aimed at the theoretical estimate of the interactions between a spherical microbial cell and the colloidal cell imprints in terms of the Derjaguin, Landau, Vervey, and Overbeek (DLVO) surface forces. We adapted the Derjaguin approximation to take into account the geometry factor in the colloidal interaction between a spherical target particle and a hemispherical shell at two different orientations with respect to each other. We took into account only classical DLVO surface forces, i.e., the van der Waals and the electric double layer forces, in the interaction of a spherical target cell and a hemispherical shell as a function of their size ratio, mutual orientation, distance between their surfaces, their respective surface potentials, and the ionic strength of the aqueous solution. We found that the calculated interaction energies are several orders higher when match and recognition between the target cell and the target cell imprint is achieved. Our analysis revealed that the recognition effect of the hemispherical shell towards the target microsphere comes from the greatly increased surface contact area when a full match of their size and shape is produced. When the interaction between the surfaces of the hemishell and the target cell is attractive, the recognition greatly amplifies the attraction and this increases the likelihood of them to bind strongly. However, if the surface interaction between the cell and the imprint is repulsive, the shape and size match makes this interaction even more repulsive and thus decreases the likelihood of binding. These results show that the surface chemistry of the target cells and their colloidal imprints is very important in controlling the outcome of the interaction, while the shape recognition only amplifies the interaction. In the case of nonmonotonous surface-to-surface interaction we discovered some interesting interplay between the effects of shape match and surface chemistry which is discussed in the paper. The results from this study establish the theoretical basis of cell shape recognition by colloidal cell imprints which, combined with cell killing strategies, could lead to an alternative class of cell shape selective antimicrobials, antiviral, and potentially anticancer therapies.


Borovicka, J., Stoyanov, S. D., & Paunov, V. N. (2015). Cell shape recognition by colloidal cell imprints: Energy of the cell-imprint interaction. Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics, 92(3), 1-8.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 5, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2015
Publication Date Sep 30, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Physical review. E
Print ISSN 1539-3755
Electronic ISSN 1550-2376
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 92
Issue 3
Article Number ARTN 032730
Pages 1-8
Keywords Cell shape recognition, Colloidal cell imprints, Cell-imprint interaction
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Physical review. E, 2015, v.92, issue 3


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Copyright Statement
©2015 American Physical Society

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