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Chemphyschem. 2001 Jun 18;2(6):367-76. doi: 10.1002/1439-7641(20010618)2:6<367::AID-CPHC367>3.0.CO;2-#.

Selective adhesion, lipid exchange and membrane-fusion processes between vesicles of various sizes bearing complementary molecular recognition groups.

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1
Laboratoire de Chimie des Interactions Moléculaires, UPR 285, Collège de France, Paris, France.

Abstract

Equimolar mixtures of large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) obtained from mixtures of egg lecithin and lipids containing complementary hydrogen bonding head groups (barbituric acid (BAR) and 2,4,6-triaminopyrimidine (TAP)) were shown to aggregate and fuse. These events have been studied in detail using electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering, and by fluorimetry using membrane or water-soluble fluorescence probes. It was shown that aggregation was followed by two competitive processes: a) lipid mixing leading to redispersion of the vesicles; b) fusion events generating much larger vesicles. In order to better understand the nature of the interaction, the effects of ionic strength and surface concentration of recognition lipids on the aggregation process were investigated by dynamic light scattering. Additionally, it was possible to inhibit the aggregation kinetics through addition of a soluble barbituric acid competitor. The study was extended to giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) to investigate the size effect and visualise the phenomena in situ. The interactions between complementary LUVs and GUVs or GUVs and GUVs were studied by optical microscopy using dual fluorescent labelling of both vesicle populations. A selective adhesion of LUVs onto GUVs was observed by electron and optical microscopies, whereas no aggregation took place in case of a GUV/GUV mixture. Furthermore, a fusion assay of GUV and LUV using the difference of size between GUV and LUV and calceine self-quenching showed that no mixing between the aqueous pools occured.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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