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Formation of Kinetically Trapped Nanoscopic Unilamellar Vesicles from Metastable Nanodiscs



Mu-Ping Nieh, Paul Dolinar, Norbert Kucerka, Steven R. Kline, Lisa M. Debeer-Schmitt, Kenneth C. Littrell, John Katsaras


Zwitterionic long-chain lipids form onion-like structures, commonly known as multilamellar vesicles (MLVs), in aqueous solution. It is also known that the addition of short-chain lipids and charged long-chain lipids to zwitterionic longchain lipids leads to the formation of unilamellar vesicles (ULVs). Here we report on such a phospholipid mixture that was studied using small angle neutron scattering (SANS). Not surprisingly, the addition of salt to a net charged ULV system led to the formation of MLVs as a result of the screening of charges. However, in the case of a weakly charged lipid mixture where MLVs are the thermodynamically stable morphology, incubation at a temperature much lower than the melting temperature of the long-chain lipid resulted in uniform size nanoscopic ULVs. The formation of these ULVs from MLVs is presumably due to a decrease in the membrane¿s rigidity, which also happens to promote the folding of nanodiscs (also known as ¿bicelles¿) to ULVs. These uniform size nanoscopic ULVs can be functionalised for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes in medicine.


multilamellar vesicles, unilamellar vesicles, bicelles, small-angle neutron scattering, lipids


Nieh, M. , Dolinar, P. , Kucerka, N. , Kline, S. , Debeer-Schmitt, L. , Littrell, K. and Katsaras, J. (2011), Formation of Kinetically Trapped Nanoscopic Unilamellar Vesicles from Metastable Nanodiscs, Langmuir, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created September 26, 2011, Updated October 12, 2021