Double membrane formation in heterogeneous vesicles

D Bolmatov and JMY Carrillo and BG Sumpter and J Katsaras and MO Lavrentovich, SOFT MATTER, 16, 8806-8817 (2020).

DOI: 10.1039/d0sm01167c

Lipids are capable of forming a variety of structures, including multi- lamellar vesicles. Layered lipid membranes are found in cell organelles, such as autophagosomes and mitochondria. Here, we present a mechanism for the formation of a double-walled vesicle (i.e., two lipid bilayers) from a unilamellar vesicle through the partitioning and phase separation of a small molecule. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we show that double membrane formation proceeds via a nucleation and growth process i.e., after a critical concentration of the small molecules, a patch of double membrane nucleates and grows to cover the entire vesicle. We discuss the implications of this mechanism and theoretical approaches for understanding the evolution and formation of double membranes.

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