Multiscale Dynamics of Lipid Vesicles in Polymeric Microenvironment

Membranes (Basel). 2022 Jun 21;12(7):640. doi: 10.3390/membranes12070640.


Understanding dynamic and complex interaction of biological membranes with extracellular matrices plays a crucial role in controlling a variety of cell behavior and functions, from cell adhesion and growth to signaling and differentiation. Tremendous interest in tissue engineering has made it possible to design polymeric scaffolds mimicking the topology and mechanical properties of the native extracellular microenvironment; however, a fundamental question remains unanswered: that is, how the viscoelastic extracellular environment modifies the hierarchical dynamics of lipid membranes. In this work, we used aqueous solutions of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) with different molecular weights to mimic the viscous medium of cells and nearly monodisperse unilamellar DMPC/DMPG liposomes as a membrane model. Using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), dynamic light scattering, temperature-modulated differential scanning calorimetry, bulk rheology, and fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy, we investigated the structural phase map and multiscale dynamics of the liposome-polymer mixtures. The results suggest an unprecedented dynamic coupling between polymer chains and phospholipid bilayers at different length/time scales. The microviscosity of the lipid bilayers is directly influenced by the relaxation of the whole chain, resulting in accelerated dynamics of lipids within the bilayers in the case of short chains compared to the polymer-free liposome case. At the macroscopic level, the gel-to-fluid transition of the bilayers results in a remarkable thermal-stiffening behavior of polymer-liposome solutions that can be modified by the concentration of the liposomes and the polymer chain length.

PMID:35877843 | PMC:PMC9318666 | DOI:10.3390/membranes12070640


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