Giant vesicles are being widely used as a model membrane system, both for basic biological systems and for their promising applications in the development of smart materials, in particular for drug delivery, as well as use in driving new technologies for the cosmetics industry. This practical manual gives the reader a toolbox for starting work with giant vesicles, including expert’s tips on proper preparation methods, measurement, and characterization methods. The contents build from a simple model to use of vesicles as advanced membrane and cell system models. It also includes fundamentals for understanding vesicle structure, properties and behavior.
• Provides a complete summary of the field, covering fundamental concepts, practical methods, core theory, and the most promising applications.
• Emphasizes clarity of presentation with instructive illustrations and exemplary data.
• Covers different preparation methods for simple to more complex membrane models.
• Discusses the main techniques for characterization and measurement of membrane properties.
• Includes handy tables with data and structures for ready reference.
Preparation methods for giant unilamellar vesicles. Preparation and properties of giant plasma membrane vesicles and giant unilamellar vesicles from natural membranes. Protein reconstitution in giant vesicles. GUVs with cytoskeleton. Understanding giant vesicles – a theoretical perspective. Simulating membranes, vesicles, and cells. Theory of vesicle dynamics in flow and electric fields. Particle-membrane interactions. Theory of polymer-membrane interactions. Application of optical microscopy techniques on giant unilamellar vesicles. Mechanics assays of synthetic lipid membranes based on micropipette aspiration. Atomic force microscopy of giant unilamellar vesicles. Manipulation and biophysical characterization of GUVs with an optical stretcher. Vesicle fluctuation analysis. Using electric fields to assess membrane material properties in GUVs. Creating membrane nanotubes from GUVs. Measuring GUV adhesion. Phase diagrams and tie lines in GUVs. Vesicle dynamics in flow: an experimental approach. Membrane permeability measurements. Lipid and protein mobility in GUVs. Shining light on membranes. Protein-membrane interactions. Effects of antimicrobial peptides and detergents on guvs. Lipid-polymer interactions: effect on GUVs shapes and behavior. Polymersomes. Giant hybrid polymer/lipid vesicles. Giant unilamellar vesicles: from protocell models to the construction of minimal cells. Encapsulation of aqueous two-phase systems and gels within giant lipid vesicles. Droplet-supported giant lipid vesicles as compartments for synthetic biology. List of lipids and physical constants of lipid bilayers. List of membrane dyes and fluorescent groups conjugated to lipids. List of detergents. List of water-soluble dyes or their fluorescent groups and their structures