Shape Transformations of Lipid Vesicles by Insertion of Bulky-Head Lipids

>Lipid vesicles, in particular Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs), have been increasingly important as compartments of artificial cells to reconstruct living cell-like systems in a bottom-up fashion. Here, we report shape transformations of lipid vesicles induced by polyethylene glycol-lipid conjugate (PEG lipids). Statistical analysis of deformed vesicle shapes revealed that shapes vesicles tend to deform into depended on the concentration of the PEG lipids. When compared with theoretically simulated vesicle shapes, those shapes were found to be more energetically favorable, with lower membrane bending energies than other shapes. This result suggests that the vesicle shape transformations can be controlled by externally added membrane molecules, which can serve as a potential method to control the replications of artificial cells.

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