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Characterization of Biological Membranes

Structure and Dynamics

Ed. by Nieh, Mu-Ping / Heberle, Frederick A. / Katsaras, John

With contrib. by Bowerman, Charles / Bozelli Junior, José Carlos / Brown, Michael F. / Butler, Paul D. / Chan, Chun / Cheng, Xiaolin / Cherniavskyi, Yevhen / Cheung, Eugene / Chini, Corryn E. / Craig, Andrew F. / Dabney-Smith, Carole / Davis, James H. / Dimova, Rumiana / DiPasquale, Mitchell / Eells, Rebecca / Epand, Richard M. / Fisher, Alessandro / Frank, Kilian / Gorman, Brittney L. / Harroun, Thad A. / Heinrich, Frank / Hoogerheide, David P. / Kelly, Elizabeth G. / Kienzle, Paul A. / Kiessling, Volker / Komorowski, Karlo / Konkolewicz, Dominik / Kraft, Mary / Kučerka, Norbert / Li, Ying / London, Erwin / Lorigan, Gary A. / Lösche, Mathias / Majkrzak, Charles F. / Marquardt, Drew / Nagao, Michihiro / Nguyen, Michael H.L. / Nickels, Jonathan / Poloni, Laura / Sahu, Indra D. / Salditt, Tim / Schick, Michael / Schmidt, Miranda / Shen, Zhingiang / Steinkühler, Jan / Tamm, Lukas K. / Tieleman, Peter / Uhríková, Daniela / Won, Amy / Xia, Yan / Ye, Huilin / Yeager, Ashley N. / Yip, Christopher M.

Series:De Gruyter STEM

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Publication Date:
July 2019
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13. Giant vesicles: A biomimetic tool for assessing membrane material properties and interactions

Steinkühler, Jan / Dimova, Rumiana


Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) have sizes in the range of 10-100 μm, which defines their unique property: they are visible under a light microscope. GUVs provide a handy biomimetic tool for directly displaying the response of the membrane on the cellsize scale. They represent model biomembrane systems for systematic measurements of mechanical and rheological properties of lipid bilayers as a function of membrane composition and phase state, surrounding media, and temperature. Here, we first summarize methods for preparing GUVs and their observation. Then, we introduce different experimental techniques which can yield precise values of membrane material characteristics such as mechanical properties (bending rigidity, stretching elasticity, lysis tension, and spontaneous curvature) and rheology (fluidity and viscosity of the membrane). Design, setup, practical tips, and evaluation of such experiments are discussed. An example on vesicle immobilization facilitating such measurements is also introduced.

Citation Information

Jan Steinkühler, Rumiana Dimova (2019). 13. Giant vesicles: A biomimetic tool for assessing membrane material properties and interactions. In Mu-Ping Nieh, Frederick A. Heberle, John Katsaras (Eds.), Characterization of Biological Membranes: Structure and Dynamics (pp. 415–440). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110544657-013

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110544657

Online ISBN: 9783110544657

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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