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Research Highlight

Controlling the Formation of Double Membrane Vesicles

Controlling the Formation of Double Membrane Vesicles
Evolution of the formation of double membranes in a non-phase separating (a) and phase separating (b) lipid vesicle. Arrows point to the nucleated double membrane, which eventually spreads into the entire vesicle surface.

Scientific Achievement

A novel model describes the underlying mechanism of how small molecules promote the formation of double-walled lipid vesicles.

Significance and Impact

An understanding of the role of soft materials points toward novel possibilities for lipid membrane control and design for membrane engineering relevant to drug delivery and for understanding biological processes like virus-induced double-walled vesicles.

Research Details

– Large-scale, coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of lipid vesicles are coupled with theoretical considerations on membrane elasticity. – Double membrane formation is a nucleation and growth process facilitated by small molecules that decreases the effective bending rigidity of the vesicle membrane.  

D. Bolmatov, J.-M.Y. Carrillo, B. G. Sumpter, J. Katsaras, and M. O. Lavrentovich, "Double Membrane Formation in Heterogeneous Vesicles," accepted for publication in Soft Matter (2020). DOI: 10.1039/D0SM01167C