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Engineering Asymmetric Lipid Vesicles: Accurate and Convenient Control of the Outer Leaflet Lipid Composition

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posted on 02.01.2018, 00:00 by Marie Markones, Carina Drechsler, Michael Kaiser, Louma Kalie, Heiko Heerklotz, Sebastian Fiedler
The asymmetric distribution of lipids between the two bilayer leaflets represents a typical feature of biological membranes. The loss of this asymmetry, for example the exposure of negatively charged lipids on the extracellular membrane leaflet of mammalian cells, is involved in apoptosis and occurs in tumor cells. Thus, the controlled production of asymmetric liposomes helps to better understand such crucial cellular processes. Here, we present an approach that allows us to design asymmetric model-membrane experiments on a rational basis and predict the fraction of exchanged lipid. In addition, we developed a label-free and nondestructive assay to quantify the asymmetric uptake of negatively charged lipids in terms of the zeta potential. This significantly enhances the applicability, impact, and predictive power of model membranes.