The Editorial Board of the journal “Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics” monthly assigns one of the articles of each thematic issue the honorary status of “Editor’s Choice”. We hope that the selected articles will be of interest to a wide range of readers.
Volume 84, issue 11, November 2020
Thematic issue “Medical physics”
A. Yu. Yurenya, A. A. Nikitin, R. R. Gabbasov, M. A. Polikarpov, V. M. Cherepanov, M. A. Chuev, M. A. Abakumov & V. Ya. Panchenko, Studying the Effect of Brownian Motion on the Mössbauer Spectra of Nanoparticles in a Medium Simulating Cell Cytoplasm // Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics, Volume 84, Issue 11, pages 1399–1402 (2020)
Understanding the principles of Brownian motion of particles in solutions of macromolecules is the most important task for a number of scientific fields. In cell biophysics, one of these areas is related to the study of intracellular transport processes. Various macromolecular biopolymers, such as proteins, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids, occupy from 5 to 40 % of the volume of liquid biological media (in literature, this effect is often called macromolecular crowding), which has a significant impact on all biological processes occurring in the cell. Studying the parameters of the motion of particles and macromolecules in such conditions is extremely difficult since the details of this motion are hidden on the nanoscale. Modern experimental approaches are based on optical measurements, the research capabilities of which in relation to nanoscale objects have a number of significant limitations. Earlier, we proposed a new approach to studying the dynamics of Brownian particles. The approach is based on Mössbauer spectroscopy of nanoparticles dispersed in the studied medium and made on the basis of the 57Fe isotope. Due to the Doppler effect, the Brownian motion of nanoparticles leads to a uniform broadening of their mössbauer spectra. The diffusion coefficient of nanoparticles is directly related to the value of this broadening, which makes it possible to determine it experimentally. The time resolution of the proposed approach is determined by the lifetime of the 57Fe core excited state which is less than 10-7 s, which largely determines the uniqueness of the data obtained.
In this work, for the first time, the nanoscale motion under conditions of macromolecular crowding has been studied using the method of Mössbauer spectroscopy. In this task, we studied the motion parameters of nanoparticles with a diameter of 9 nm that are part of solutions with different contents of large-molecular BSA protein. It was shown that the availability of macromolecules in solutions with identical macroscopic viscosity slows down the average velocity of Brownian motion of nanoparticles in the nanosecond measurement range. This effect increases with the increasing concentration of macromolecules in the solution.
The Brownian motion of particles leads to a broadening of the lines of their mössbauer spectrum. The value of this broadening is directly related to the particle diffusion coefficient in the studied system, which allows us to determine its value by calculations (on the left). In accordance with the Stokes-Einstein equation, the values of the nano-viscosity were calculated from the set values of the diffusion coefficient. Even though the macroscopic viscosity of solutions with different BSA contents is identical, the actual viscosity experienced by nanoparticles depends on the concentration of BSA macromolecules (on the right).