Lira, Rafael B.
Rieke, Karin A.
Total Authors: 3
 Univ Fed Sao Paulo, Dept Biofis, Sao Paulo - Brazil
 Max Planck Inst Colloids & Interfaces, Dept Theory & Biosyst, Potsdam - Germany
Total Affiliations: 2
OCT 7 2014.
Web of Science Citations:
Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) are presumably the current most popular biomimetic membrane model. Preparation of GUVs in physiological conditions using the classical electroformation method is challenging. To circumvent these difficulties, a new method was recently reported, by which GUVs spontaneously swell from hybrid films of agarose and lipids. However, agarose is left encapsulated in the vesicles in different amounts. In this work, we thoroughly characterize the mechanical properties of these agarose-GUVs in response to electric pulses, which induce vesicle deformation and can lead to membrane poration. We show that the relaxation dynamics of deformed vesicles, both in the presence and absence of poration, is significantly slowed down for agarose-GUVs when compared to agarose-free GUVs. In the presence of poration, agarose polymers prevent complete pore closure and lead to high membrane permeability. A fraction of the Vesicles were found to encapsulate agarose in the form of a gel-like meshwork. These vesicles rupture and open up after electroporation and the meshwork is expelled through a macropore. When the agarose-GUVs are heated above the melting temperature of agarose for 2 h before use, vesicle response is (partially) recovered due to substantial release of encapsulated agarose during temperature treatment. Our findings reveal potential artifactual behavior of agarose-GUVs in processes involving morphological changes in the membrane as well as poration. (AU)