In situ formation of a biomimetic lipid membrane triggered by an aggregation-enhanced photoligation chemistry†
Nature or synthetic systems that can self-assemble into biomimetic membranes and form compartments in aqueous solution have received extensive attention. However, these systems often have the problems of requiring complex processes or lacking of control in simulating lipid synthesis and membrane formation of cells. This paper demonstrates a conceptually new strategy that uses a photoligation chemistry to convert nonmembrane molecules to yield liposomes. Lysosphingomyelin (Lyso) and 2-nitrobenzyl alcohol derivatives (NBs) are used as precursors and the amphiphilic character of Lyso promotes the formation of mixed aggregates with NBs, bringing the lipid precursors into close proximity. Light irradiation triggers the conversion of NBs into reactive aldehyde intermediates, and the preassembly facilitates the efficient and specific ligation between aldehyde and Lyso amine over other biomolecules, thereby accelerating the synthesis of phospholipids and forming membrane compartments similar to natural lipids. The light-controllable transformation represents the use of an external energy stimulus to form a biomimetic phospholipid membrane, which has a wide range of applications in medicinal chemistry, synthetic biological and abiogenesis.