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Surfactant-free production of biomimetic giant unilamellar vesicles using PDMS-based microfluidics

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Yandrapalli,  Naresh
Tom Robinson, Theorie & Bio-Systeme, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Robinson,  Tom
Tom Robinson, Theorie & Bio-Systeme, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Yandrapalli, N., Petit, J., Bäumchen, O., & Robinson, T. (2021). Surfactant-free production of biomimetic giant unilamellar vesicles using PDMS-based microfluidics. Communications Chemistry, 4: 100. doi:10.1038/s42004-021-00530-1.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-C6BE-3
Abstract
Microfluidic production of giant lipid vesicles presents a paradigm-shift in the development of artificial cells. While production is high-throughput and the lipid vesicles are mono-disperse compared to bulk methods, current technologies rely heavily on the addition of additives such as surfactants, glycerol and even ethanol. Here we present a microfluidic method for producing biomimetic surfactant-free and additive-free giant unilamellar vesicles. The versatile design allows for the production of vesicle sizes ranging anywhere from ~10 to 130 µm with either neutral or charged lipids, and in physiological buffer conditions. Purity, functionality, and stability of the membranes are validated by lipid diffusion, protein incorporation, and leakage assays. Usability as artificial cells is demonstrated by increasing their complexity, i.e., by encapsulating plasmids, smaller liposomes, mammalian cells, and microspheres. This robust method capable of creating truly biomimetic artificial cells in high-throughput will prove valuable for bottom-up synthetic biology and the understanding of membrane function.