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Biomembranes and more

The interior of living cells is crowded with macromolecules and organelles. Interactions between macromolecules can lead to the formation of coexisting aqueous phases. Thus, in the concentrated environment in the cell, local phase separation may occur, involving local composition differences and microcompartmentation. Some years ago, we started working with vesicles encapsulating aqueous two-phase polymer solutions (ATPS). These vesicles exhibit a variety of morphological changes and membrane transformations induced by phase separation in the vesicle interior. The following Highlight in Soft Matter and a review in Adv. Mater. Interfaces summarize some of our observations:

Lipid membranes in contact with aqueous phases of polymer solutions, R. Dimova and R. Lipowsky, Soft Matter, 8, 6409-6415 (2012) DOI:10.1039/C2SM25261A [Full text]

Giant vesicles exposed to aqueous two-phase systems: Membrane wetting, budding processes, and spontaneous tubulation, R. Dimova and R. Lipowsky, Adv. Mater. Interfaces 1600451 (2016) DOI: 10.1002/admi.201600451 [Full text]

Vesicles with aqueous compartments

Aqueous droplets of polymer solution can undergo wetting transition when in contact with the membrane [read more]

On microscopic scale the membrane exhibits a kink which cannot persist on nanometer scale where the wetting is characterized by an intrinsic contact angle [read more]

A vesicle (red) wetted by a droplet of polymer solution (green) [read more]

Nanotubes stabilized by spontaneous curvature [read more]

Last modified: 27-Sep-16 2:02:44 PM