Supervision: André Schroder and Carlos Marques. In collaboration with Tatiana Schmatko
Giant Unilamellar Vesicles (GUVs) are a valuable tool to study lipid bilayer-biomolecule interactions in simplified cell-like model systems. In this work, a new method to efficiently form GUVs within minutes from more complex systems was developed. This method is based on swelling of a PVA-film under a lipid bilayer and minimizes damage of involved molecules during GUV formation. It also opens up many interesting perspectives for the formation of GUVs composed from new classes of synthetic lipids, such as glycolipids and amide-bearing phospholipids, where the traditional methods fail to efficiently produce “undamaged” vesicles. GUVs were also used for studying lipid-peptide interactions of a new class of elastin-like polypeptides functionalized with arginine-rich residues. It is shown that attractive interactions between lipids and peptides are suppressed by cargo-attachment and can be tuned by self-assembly into micelles and the arginine-amount of the cell penetrating residue.