Salt, Shake, Fuse—Giant Hybrid Polymer/Lipid Vesicles through Mechanically Activated Fusion

Authors

  • Dr. Ian M. Henderson,

    1. Center for integrated Nanotechnologies, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185 (USA)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dr. Walter F. Paxton

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for integrated Nanotechnologies, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185 (USA)
    • Center for integrated Nanotechnologies, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM 87185 (USA)===

    Search for more papers by this author

  • I.M.H. thanks Virginia VanDelinder and Nathan F. Bouxsein for assistance with optical microscopy. This work was performed at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. Supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Sandia National Laboratories, a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.

Abstract

Large (200 nm) poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(butadiene) polymer vesicles fuse into giant (>1 μm) vesicles with mild agitation in dilute aqueous NaCl solutions. This unusual effect is attributed to the salt-induced contraction of the poly(ethylene oxide) corona, reducing steric resistance between vesicles and, with agitation, increasing the probability of contact between the hydrophobic cores of adjacent membranes. In addition, NaCl and agitation facilitated the creation of giant hybrid vesicles from much smaller homogeneous polymersomes and liposomes. Whereas lipid vesicles do not readily fuse with each other under the same circumstances, they did fuse with polymersomes to produce hybrid polymer/lipid vesicles.

Ancillary