Integrating microfluidic generation, handling and analysis of biomimetic giant unilamellar vesicles†
The key roles played by phospholipids in many cellular processes, has led to the development of model systems, to explore both lipid–lipid and lipid–peptide interactions. Biomimetic giant unilamellar vesicles represent close facsimiles of in vivo cellular membranes, although currently their widespread use in research is hindered by difficulties involving their integration into high-throughput techniques, for exploring membrane biology intensively in situ. This paper presents an integrated microfluidic device for the production, manipulation and high-throughput analysis of giant unilamellar vesicles. Its utility is demonstrated by exploring the lipid interaction dynamics of the pore-forming antimicrobial peptide melittin, assessed through the release of fluorescent dyes from within biomimetic vesicles, with membrane compositions similar to mammalian plasma membranes.