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The Giant Vesicle Book

edited by Rumiana Dimova and Carlos Marques

coming soon

Rumy and Carlos (overseen by a member of the supporting tribe) in the outskirts of Berlin assembling a giant-vesicle mimetic system (trampoline-based) and drawing inspirations for the book project.

Image courtesy of Yu. Moskalenko

Table of content

The Editors




Part I: The making of

Chapter 1

Preparation methods for giant unilamellar vesicles

Rumiana Dimova, Pasquale Stano, Carlos M. Marques and Peter Walde

Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs). Methods based on vesicle swelling on substrates. Methods based on assembly from fluid interfaces. Dealing with lipids. Which method to choose?

Chapter 2

Preparation and properties of giant plasma membrane vesicles and giant unilamellar vesicles from natural membranes

Joseph H. Lorent and Ilya Levental

Introductory words. Complexity of biological membranes. Giant plasma membrane vesicles (GPMVs). Preparation of GPMVs. Preparation of GUVs from natural membranes. Red blood cell ghosts. Rafting into the future.

Chapter 3

Protein reconstitution in giant vesicles

Matthias Garten, Daniel Lévy and Patricia Bassereau

Introduction. Reconstitution of membrane proteins in small unilamellar vesicles (proteoliposomes). Giant vesicles prepared from proteoliposomes by dehydration/rehydration techniques. Post-incorporation of transmembrane proteins in giant vesicles. Some applications of the proteo-GUVs, past and future potential.

Chapter 4

GUVs with cytoskeleton

Tobias Härtel and Petra Schwille

Next level of complexity in a bottom-up approach of building cell-like compartments. Functions of the cortex/cytoskeleton. Composition and structure of cortex/cytoskeleton. Experimental protocols to anchor filaments. Applications of eukaryotic membrane-cytoskeleton systems. Applications of prokaryotic minimal cortices. Applications with archaeal proteins: membrane deformations by CDVA-CDVB filaments. Summary and outlook.

Part II: Giant vesicles theoretically and in silico

Chapter 5

Understanding giant vesicles – a theoretical perspective

Reinhard Lipowsky

Introduction and overview. Basic aspects of biomembranes and multi-responsive behavior of GUVs. Curvature of membranes. Curvature elasticity of uniform membranes. Multi-sphere shapes of uniform membranes. Nanotubes of uniform membranes. Adhesion of vesicles. Membrane phase separation and multi-domain vesicles. Wetting of membranes by aqueous phases and water-in-water droplets. Topological transformations of membranes. Summary and outlook.

Chapter 6

Simulating membranes, vesicles, and cells

Thorsten Auth, Dmitry A. Fedosov and Gerhard Gompper

Introduction. Membrane models and simulation techniques. Applications. Conclusions and outlook.

Chapter 7

Theory of vesicle dynamics in flow and electric fields

Petia M. Vlahovska and Chaouqi Misbah

Introduction. Problem formulation. Asymptotic solution for small deformations. Examples: a quasi–spherical vesicle in external fields. Outlook.

Chapter 8

Particle-membrane interactions

Jaime Agudo-Canalejo, Reinhard Lipowsky

Introduction and overview. Different processes induced by particle-membrane interactions. Basic aspects of particle engulfment. Engulfment of rigid spherical particles. Engulfment of complex particles. Engulfment of multiple particles. Outlook.

Chapter 9

Theory of polymer-membrane interactions

Fabrice Thalmann and Carlos M. Marques

Bilayers and polymers are intimate old friends. How do polymers interact with membranes? Membranes in a solution of depleted nanoparticles: rods and spheres. Membranes in solutions of non-ionic polymers. Membranes ornamented by end-grafted polymers. Charged membranes and charged polymers. Insertions of polymers in the bilayer. The bilayer as a polymer confinement medium. The section for the impatient: look up technique. Looking ahead.

Part III: GUV-based techniques and what one can learn from them

Chapter 10

Application of optical microscopy techniques on giant unilamellar vesicles

Luis A. Bagatolli

Introduction. Label-free optical microscopy techniques. Fluorescence microscopy techniques. Applications of SHG and CAR microscopy on GUVs. Combining fluorescence microscopy of ruptured vesicles with AFM. Conclusions and perspectives.

Chapter 11

Mechanics assays of synthetic lipid membranes based on micropipette aspiration

Elisa Parra and David Needham

Historical overview. Experimental setup for micropipette manipulation. Micromechanics of single giant unilamellar vesicles. Molecular exchange and interactions between pairs of vesicles. Outlook: conclusions and combination between the micropipette technique and other approaches.

Chapter 12

Atomic force microscopy of giant unilamellar vesicles

Andreas Janshoff

Introduction. Atomic force microscopy. Contact mechanics. Membrane mechanics. Modeling GUV mechanics probed with an AFM. Indentation of sessile GUVs. Conclusions and outlook.

Chapter 13

Manipulation and biophysical characterization of GUVs with an optical stretcher

Gheorghe Cojoc, Antoine Girot, Ulysse Delabre and Jochen Guck

Introductory words. Optical stretching basics. Building an optical stretcher. Deformation of vesicles without heating: mechanical investigation. Deformation of vesicles with heating: thermodynamic investigation. Discussion. Outlook.

Chapter 14

Vesicle fluctuation analysis

John Hjort Ipsen, Allan Grønhøj Hansen and Tripta Bhatia

Introduction. The measurement. Estimation of the correlation function. Applications. Discussion and conclusions.

Chapter 15

Using electric fields to assess membrane material properties in GUVs

Rumiana Dimova and  Karin A. Riske

Introductory words. Some equations. How to measure membrane properties by exposing GUVs to electric fields. Assessing overall vesicle properties and manipulation of GUVs. Experimental chambers for studying GUVs exposed to electric fields and tips for successful experiments. Final words.

Chapter 16

Creating membrane nanotubes from GUVs

Coline Prévost, Mijo Simunovic and Patricia Bassereau

Introduction. Physics of a membrane nanotube connected to a GUV. Pulling nanotubes with optical tweezers. Pulling nanotubes without optical tweezers. Past and potential future applications of nanotubes.

Chapter 17

Measuring GUV adhesion

Kheya Sengupta and Ana Smith

Introductory words. Context. Ingredients. Measurement of shape. Accurate measure of fluctuations. Imaging molecules and bonds. De-adhesion force. Concluding discussions.

Chapter 18

Phase diagrams and tie lines in GUVs

Matthew C. Blosser, Caitlin Cornell, Scott P. Rayermann and Sarah L. Keller

Introduction. Identifying coexisting phases in GUVs. Identifying tie lines in GUVs. Experimental caveats. Parting thoughts.

Chapter 19

Vesicle dynamics in flow: an experimental approach

Victor Steinberg and Michael Levant

Introduction. Dynamics of a vesicle in a linear flow. Vesicle dynamics in an elongation flow. Role of thermal noise in vesicle dynamics. Hydrodynamic interaction of vesicles and dynamics of vesicles under confinement. Outlook.

Chapter 20

Membrane permeability measurements

Begoña Ugarte-Uribe, Ana J. García-Sáez and Mireille M. A. E. Claessens

Membrane permeability. Permeability to water. Permeability to other molecules. Pore forming proteins and peptides. Outlook: control over permeability.

Part IV: GUVs as membrane interaction platforms

Chapter 21

Lipid and protein mobility in GUVs

Begoña Ugarte-Uribe, Kushal Kumar Das and Ana J. García-Sáez

Introduction. Selection of probes for studying membrane dynamics. Fluorescence correlation microscopy. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Single molecule imaging. Future outlook.

Chapter 22

Shining light on membranes

Rosangela Itri, Carlos M. Marques and Mauricio S. Baptista

Membranes and light. GUVs as a support to understand photoreceptors. Photoinduced physical transformations. Photoinduced chemical transformations. Membranes and light in medicine, dermo-cosmetics and pharmaceutics. The challenges ahead.

Chapter 23

Protein-membrane interactions

Eva M Schmid  and Daniel A Fletcher

Introduction. Background. Experimental methods for investigating protein-membrane interactions. Polymerization-driven membrane bending. Crowding-driven membrane bending. Size-dependent protein sorting at membrane interfaces. Summary and outlook.

Chapter 24

Effects of antimicrobial peptides and detergents on GUVs

Karin A. Riske

Introductory words. Experimental methodology. Mode of action of antimicrobial peptides. Solubilization of GUVs by detergents. Final words.

Chapter 25

Lipid-polymer interactions: effect on GUVs shapes and behavior

Brigitte Pépin-Donat, François Quemeneur and Clément Campillo

Introduction. Interactions between polymers and lipid membranes. Polymers affect membrane structures at different scales. GUVs with fluid membrane in interaction with LCST neutral polymers. GUVs with fluid membrane interacting with charged polymers. Vision.

Part V: GUVs as complex membrane containers

Chapter 26


Praful Nair, David Christian and Dennis E. Discher

Introduction. Block copolymer amphiphiles & assemblies. General background of structures. Motivation for polymer approaches. Other common block copolymers. Methods for synthesizing polymers. Methods for making and observing pGUVs. Common types of experiments. Conclusions.

Chapter 27

Giant hybrid polymer/lipid vesicles

Thi Phuong Tuyen Dao, Khalid Ferji, Fabio Fernandes, Manuel Prieto, Sébastien Lecommandoux, Emmanuel Ibarboure, Olivier Sandre and Jean-François Le Meins

Introductory words. Criteria to be fulfilled to obtain hybrid giant vesicles. Specific aspects of the formation of giant hybrid unilamellar vesicles. Understanding membrane properties from membrane structure. Conclusion and perspectives.

Chapter 28

Giant unilamellar vesicles: from protocell models to the construction of minimal cells

Masayuki Imai and Peter Walde

Introductory words. Fatty acid vesicles as protocell models. Self-reproduction of vesicles. Towards endovesicular enzymatic reactions that promote vesicles self-reproduction. The membrane physics of giant vesicles as protocell models. Some of the remaining big challenges.

Chapter 29

Encapsulation of aqueous two-phase systems and gels within giant lipid vesicles

Allyson M. Marianelli and Christine D. Keating

Introductory words. Aqueous two-phase systems. Gels. Common types of experiments with compartimentalized GUVs. Looking forward.

Chapter 30

Droplet-supported giant lipid vesicles as compartments for synthetic biology

Johannes P. Frohnmayer, Marian Weiss, Lucia T. Benk, Jan-Willi Janiesch, Barbara Haller, Rafael B. Lira, Rumiana Dimova, Ilia Plazman and Joachim P. Spatz

Introductory words. Formation, functionalization and characterization of microfluidic droplets: necessary ingredients and equipment. Formation of droplet-stabilized GUVs (dsGUVs). dsGUV biofunctionalization. Approaches for release of GUVs from dsGUVs. Summary and outlook for the future.


Appendix 1

List of lipids and physical constants of lipid bilayers

Appendix 2

List of membrane dyes and fluorescent groups conjugated to lipids

Appendix 3

List of detergents

Appendix 4

List of water-soluble dyes or their fluorescent groups and their structures