UNIT 24.3 Making Giant Unilamellar Vesicles via Hydration of a Lipid Film

  1. Suliana Manley1,
  2. Vernita D. Gordon2

Published Online: 1 SEP 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0471143030.cb2403s40

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

Current Protocols in Cell Biology

How to Cite

Manley, S. and Gordon, V. D. 2008. Making Giant Unilamellar Vesicles via Hydration of a Lipid Film. Current Protocols in Cell Biology. 40:24.3:24.3.1–24.3.13.

Author Information

  1. 1

    National Institutes of Health, Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, Bethesda, Maryland

  2. 2

    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Urbana, Illinois

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 SEP 2008
  2. Published Print: SEP 2008


This unit describes protocols for making giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) based on rehydration of dried lipid films. These model membranes are useful for determining the impact of membrane and membrane-binding components on lipid bilayer stiffness and phase behavior. Due to their large size, they are especially amenable to studies using fluorescence and light microscopy, and may also be manipulated for mechanical measurements with optical traps or micropipets. In addition to their use in encapsulation, GUVs have proven to be useful model systems for studying many cellular processes, including tubulation, budding, and fusion, as well as peptide insertion. The introduction of enzymes or proteins can result in reorganization, leading to such diverse behavior as vesicle aggregation, fusion, and fission. Curr. Protoc. Cell Biol. 40:24.3.1-24.3.13. © 2008 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • liposomes;
  • giant vesicles;
  • electroformation;
  • liposome swelling;
  • model membranes