Here we identify a novel class of biological membrane ion channel blockers called single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). SWNTs with diameter distributions peaked at ∼0.9 and 1.3 nm, C60 fullerenes, multi wall nanotubes (MWNTs), and hyperfullerenes (nano-"onions") were synthesized by several techniques and applied to diverse channel types heterologously expressed in mammalian cells. External as-fabricated and purified SWNTs blocked K+ channel subunits in a dose-dependent manner. Blockage was dependent on the shape and dimensions of the nanoparticles used and did not require any electrochemical interaction. SWNTs were more effective than the spherical fullerenes and, for both, diameter was the determining factor. These findings postulate new uses for SWNTs in biological applications and provide unexpected insights into the current view of mechanisms governing the interaction of ion channels with blocking molecules.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology