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Ejection of Large Particulate Materials from Giant Unilamellar Vesicles Induced by Electropulsation

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posted on 20.09.2019, 14:44 by Shota Katsuta, Taiji Okano, Keiichiro Koiwai, Hiroaki Suzuki
Electroporation or electropermealization is a technique to open pores in the lipid bilayer membrane of cells and vesicles transiently to increase its permeability to otherwise impermeable molecules. However, the upper size limit of the materials permeable through this operation has not been studied in the past. Here, we investigate the size of the material that can be released (ejected) from giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) upon electrical pulsation. We confirm that the volume of GUV shrinks in a stepwise manner upon periodical pulsation, in accordance with previous studies. When the same operation is applied to GUVs that encapsulate microbeads, we find that beads as large as 20 μm can be ejected across the membrane without rupturing the whole GUV structure. We also demonstrate that functional bioactive particulate materials, such as gel balls, vesicles, and cells can be encapsulated in and ejected from GUVs. We foresee that this phenomenon can be applied to precisely regulate the time and location of release of these particulate materials in the microenvironment.