Growth and instability of a phospholipid vesicle in a bath of fatty acids

J. Dervaux, V. Noireaux, A. J. Libchaber

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26 Scopus citations


Using a microfluidic trap, we study the behavior of individual phospholipid vesicles in contact with fatty acids. We show that spontaneous fatty acids insertion inside the bilayer is controlled by the vesicle size, osmotic pressure difference across the membrane and fatty acids concentration in the external bath. Depending on these parameters, vesicles can grow spherically or become unstable and fragment into several daughter vesicles. We establish the phase diagram for vesicle growth and we derive a simple thermodynamic model that reproduces the time evolution of the vesicle volume. Finally, we show that stable growth can be achieved on an artificial cell expressing a simple set of bacterial cytoskeletal proteins, paving the way toward artificial cell reproduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number284
JournalEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 29 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.


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