Block liposomes from curvature-stabilizing lipids: Connected nanotubes, -rods, or -spheres

Alexandra Zidovska, Kai K. Ewert, Joel Quispe, Bridget Carragher, Clinton S. Potter, Cyrus R. Safinya

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We report on the discovery of block liposomes, a new class of chain-melted (liquid) vesicles, with membranes comprised of mixtures of the membrane-curvature-stabilizing multivalent lipid MVLBG2 of colossal charge +16 e and neutral l,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine (DOPC). In a narrow MVLBG2 composition range (8 - 10 mol %), cryo-TEM revealed block liposomes consisting of distinctly shaped, yet connected, nanoscale spheres, pears, tubes, or rods. Unlike typical liposome systems, where spherical vesicles, tubular vesicles, and cylindrical micelles are separated on the macroscopic scale, within a block liposome, shapes are separated on the nanometer scale. Diblock (pear - tube) and triblock (pear - tube - pear) liposomes contain nanotubes with inner lumen diameter of 10 - 50 nm. Diblock (sphere - rod) liposomes were found to contain micellar nanorods ≈4 nm in diameter and several micrometers in length, analogous to cytoskeletal filaments of eukaryotic cells. Block liposomes may find a range of applications in chemical and nucleic acid delivery and as building blocks in the design of templates for hierarchical structures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2979-2985
    Number of pages7
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - Mar 3 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Materials Science
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Surfaces and Interfaces
    • Spectroscopy
    • Electrochemistry


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