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Issue 7, 2019
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Directed tubule growth from giant unilamellar vesicles in a thermal gradient

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Abstract

We demonstrate experimental control over tubule growth in giant unilamellar vesicles with liquid–liquid phase coexistence, using a thermal gradient to redistribute lipid phase domains on the membrane. As studied previously, the domains of the less abundant phase always partition towards hotter temperatures, depleting the cold side of the vesicle of domains. We couple this mechanism of domain migration with the inclusion of negative-curvature lipids within the membrane, resulting in control of tubule growth direction towards the high temperature. Control of composition determines the interior/exterior growth of tubules, whereas the thermal gradient regulates the length of the tubule relative to the vesicle radius. Maintaining lipid membranes under non-equilibrium conditions, such as thermal gradients, allows the creation of thermally-oriented protrusions, which could be a key step towards developing functional materials or artificial tissues. Interconnected vesicle compartments or ejected daughter vesicles as transport intermediaries towards hot/cold are just two possibilities.

Graphical abstract: Directed tubule growth from giant unilamellar vesicles in a thermal gradient

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Sep 2018, accepted on 08 Dec 2018 and first published on 25 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01892H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2019,15, 1676-1683
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Directed tubule growth from giant unilamellar vesicles in a thermal gradient

    E. L. Talbot, J. Kotar, L. Di Michele and P. Cicuta, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 1676
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM01892H

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