Freely drawn single lipid nanotube patterns†
LNTs are unique 3D structures made only of safe and abundant biomaterials by self-assembly. The current bottleneck for developing applications using LNTs is the lack of an easy technique to pattern them on substrates. We report a method to free-draw single lipid nanotube (LNT) patterns in any shape on surfaces with 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) that takes an inverted hexagonal (HII) phase. We used pre-self-assembled LNTs or HII lipid blocks as a lipid reservoir from which new LNTs were pulled by applying a point load with a micromanipulator. The extreme simplicity of our technique originates from the fundamental nature of DOPE lipids that prefer a HII phase, while all the conventional approaches use PC lipids that form a lamellar phase. By adjusting the surface properties with polyelectrolyte multilayers, the created single LNT objects are able to remain adhered to the surface for over a week. Importantly, it could be shown that two vesicles loaded with caged fluorescent molecules were able to fuse well with a LNT, enabling diffusive transport of uncaged fluorescent molecules from one vesicle to the other.