Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Despite the environmentally friendly reputation of ionic liquids (ILs), their safety has been recently questioned given their potential as cytotoxic agents. The fundamental mechanisms underlying the interactions between ILs and cells are less studied and by far not completely understood. Biomimetic films are here important biophysical model systems to elucidate fundamental aspects and mechanisms relevant for a large range of biological interaction ranging from signaling to drug reception or toxicity. Here we use dissipative quartz crystal microbalance QCM-D to examine the effect of aqueous imidazolium-based ionic liquid mixtures on solid-supported biomimetic membranes. Specifically, we assess in real time the effect of the cation chain length and the anion nature on a supported vesicle layer of the model phospholipid DMPC. Results indicate that interactions are mainly driven by the hydrophobic components of the IL, which significantly distort the layer and promote vesicle rupture. Our analyses evidence the gradual decrease of the main phase transition temperature upon increasing IL concentration, reflecting increased disorder by weakening of lipid chain interactions. The degree of rupture is significant for ILs with long hydrophobic cation chains and large hydrophobic anions whose behavior is reminiscent of that of antimicrobial peptides.