Effect of Glucose on the Mobility of Membrane-Adhering Liposomes

Jurrian J.J. Gillissen, Seyed R.. Tabaei, Joshua A. Jackman, Nam-Joon Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Enclosed lipid bilayer structures, referred to as liposomes or lipid vesicles, have a wide range of biological functions, such as cellular signaling and membrane trafficking. The efficiency of cellular uptake of liposomes, a key step in many of these functions, is strongly dependent on the contact area between a liposome and a cell membrane, which is governed by the adhesion force w, the membrane bending energy κ, and the osmotic pressure Δp. Herein, we investigate the relationship between these forces and the physicochemical properties of the solvent, namely, the presence of glucose (a nonionic osmolyte). Using fluorescence microscopy, we measure the diffusivity D of small (∼50 nm radius), fluorescently labeled liposomes adhering to a supported lipid bilayer or to the freestanding membrane of a giant (∼10 μm radius) liposome. It is observed that glucose in solution reduces D on the supported membrane, while having negligible effect on D on the freestanding membrane. Using well-known hydrodynamic theory for the diffusivity of membrane inclusions, these observations suggest that glucose enhances the contact area between the small liposomes and the underlying membrane, while not affecting the viscosity of the underlying membrane. In addition, quartz crystal microbalance experiments showed no significant change in the hydrodynamic height of the adsorbed liposomes, upon adding glucose. This observation suggests that instead of osmotic deflation, glucose enhances the contact area via adhesion forces, presumably due to the depletion of the glucose molecules from the intermembrane hydration layer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503–511
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 09 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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