Characterization of lipid composition and diffusivity in OLA generated vesicles

Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs) are a versatile tool in many branches of science, including biophysics and synthetic biology. Octanol-Assisted Liposome Assembly (OLA), a recently developed microfluidic technique enables the production and testing of GUVs within a single device under highly controlled experimental conditions. It is therefore gaining significant interest as a platform for use in drug discovery, the production of artificial cells and more generally for controlled studies of the properties of lipid membranes.

In this work, we expand the capabilities of the OLA technique by forming GUVs of tunable binary lipid mixtures of DOPC, DOPG and DOPE. Using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching we investigated the lateral diffusion coefficients of lipids in OLA liposomes and found the expected values in the range of 1 μm2/s for the lipid systems tested. We studied the OLA derived GUVs under a range of conditions and compared the results with electroformed vesicles. Overall, we found the lateral diffusion coefficients of lipids in vesicles obtained with OLA to be quantitatively similar to those in vesicles obtained via traditional electroformation. Our results provide a quantitative biophysical validation of the quality of OLA derived GUVs, which will facilitate the wider use of this versatile platform.

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Article Information: Michael Schaich, Diana Sobota, Hannah Sleath, Jehangir Cama, Ulrich F. Keyser; Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes, 2020.

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