Insertion of nanoparticle clusters into vesicle bilayers

ACS Nano. 2014 Apr 22;8(4):3451-60. doi: 10.1021/nn406349z. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


A major contemporary concern in developing effective liposome-nanoparticle hybrids is the present inclusion size limitation of nanoparticles between vesicle bilayers, which is considered to be around 6.5 nm in diameter. In this article, we present experimental observations backed by theoretical considerations which show that greater structures can be incorporated within vesicle membranes by promoting the clustering of nanoparticles before liposome formation. Cryo-transmission electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography confirm these observations at unprecedented detail and underpin that the liposome membranes can accommodate flexible structures of up to 60 nm in size. These results imply that this material is more versatile in terms of inclusion capabilities and consequently widens the opportunities in developing multivalent vesicles for nanobiotechnology applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ferric Compounds / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry*
  • Liposomes / chemistry*
  • Micelles
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Particle Size


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Liposomes
  • Micelles
  • ferric oxide