Spontaneous formation of giant unilamellar vesicles on supported lipid bilayer
Elif Senem Köksal, Chemistry
We report a new means of giant unilamellar vesicle (GUV) formation from protein-free, solid-supported phospholipid bilayers. The bilayers form as a result of continuous adhesion and rupturing of double bilayer membranes on solid substrates 1. While rupturing, the upper bilayer with respect to the solid substrate leaves behind nanotubes from which, GUVs spontaneously emerge in course of several hours. The GUVs mature to final diameters of 8–10 μm until the lipid material of the thread they are in contact with, is completely consumed. We presume the vesicle formation to be driven by minimization of the surface free energy of the membrane. This occurs when the curvature of the membrane is reduced during the transformation of a cylindrical nanotube to a spherical vesicle.
We anticipate this technique to be an efficient way of producing precisely unilamellar giant vesicles in high numbers, without the need of electrodes or microfluidics.