Transient pores in vesicles

Abstract : We present our observations of transient pores in giant unilamellar vesicles, placed under tension, by optical illumination. When the membrane tension reached a certain level, transient pores appeared. Pore opening is driven by the membrane tension, s, and its closure by the pore's line tension, T. By use of viscous mixtures of glycerol and water, we slowed down the leak out of the inner liquid in the presence of a pore. This allowed pores to reach large sizes (a few micrometres) and last at least a few seconds so that they could be visualized by fluorescence videomicroscopy. Line tension was inferred from the measurements of the closure velocity of the pores. By addition of cholesterol, which increased T (reducing pore lifetimes), or of surfactants, which decreased T (increasing pore lifetimes), we demonstrate how T , and consequently pore lifetimes, can be controlled over nearly two orders of magnitude. Addition of surfactants also has a dramatic effect on vesicle fusion. We discuss how our results can be extended to less viscous aqueous solutions which are more relevant for liposomal drug delivery formulations.
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Erdem Karatekin, Olivier Sandre, Françoise Brochard-Wyart. Transient pores in vesicles. Polymer International, Wiley, 2003, 52 (4), pp.486-493. ⟨10.1002/pi.1007⟩. ⟨hal-02168780⟩

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