Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 5, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

Specific adhesion between DNA-functionalized “Janus” vesicles: size-limited clusters

Author affiliations


Asymmetric building blocks afford assembly of more complex, sophisticated materials than their homogeneous counterparts. Phase separation of mixed membranes produces asymmetric surface textures in lipid vesicles. Membranes that demix into coexisting liquid phases ripen such that the vesicle domain morphology exhibits a Janus-like texture. DNA is commonly used in material science as a molecular glue. Hydrophobically modified DNA strands anchor to the membranes of vesicles such that the DNA is free to bind its complement. When DNA amphiphiles are anchored to phase separated vesicles, they thermodynamically partition between coexisting domains. This results in asymmetric surface distributions of adhesive functionalities. We enhance the partitioning of cholesteryl-anchored DNA into liquid ordered (Lo) domains of Janus-like vesicles by incorporating highly unsaturated lipids into membrane mixtures. We find that cardiolipin (CL) drives the strongest enrichment of DNA into Lo domains with apparent surface concentrations at least an order of magnitude greater than in coexisting liquid disordered domains. We also examine the partitioning of DNA with a lipid-like anchor in Janus-textured vesicles; the inclusion of CL also drives a very strong enhancement into Lo domains. The culmination of this work is the study of superstructures that form when populations of these Janus vesicles, functionalized by complementary DNA strands, are mixed. Unlike their homogeneous counterparts, which can form uncontrollably large clusters, size-limited multicompartmental architectures are observed. The DNA-rich Lo domains saturate in adhesion plaques of the clusters. This predominantly leaves DNA-depleted Lα phase accessible on the exterior surface of these structures, which does not favor binding of further vesicles.

Graphical abstract: Specific adhesion between DNA-functionalized “Janus” vesicles: size-limited clusters

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 24 Sep 2010, accepted on 22 Nov 2010 and first published on 15 Dec 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01055C
Soft Matter, 2011,7, 1747-1755

  •   Request permissions

    Specific adhesion between DNA-functionalized “Janus” vesicles: size-limited clusters

    P. A. Beales, J. Nam and T. K. Vanderlick, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 1747
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01055C

Search articles by author