PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis paper describes a platform for producing giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) with specified volume and contents, repeatedly, in a controlled environment. GUVs are membrane systems approximately the size of a cell used to study the function and structure of biological systems. Actively manipulating the contents of a GUV to determine its function provides many applications in biochemistry and medicine. However, artificially forming GUVs of monodisperse size, which can also contain essentially any contents such that they can be manipulated and studied, is difficult. We designed a system to produce GUVs repeatedly based on methods found in related literature. The technique involves microfluidic jetting of a desired solution from a standard syringe through a fitted glass needle using a piezoelectric actuator as the injection mechanism. Formation of the vesicles via a lipid bilayer and microfluidic jetting is similar to blowing a bubble on the microscopic scale. The customized components of our set-up include an infinity chamber where the vesicles are formed, the chamber base fitted to a Nikon Eclipse TE300 inverted microscope, and a syringe holder. Each of the manufactured components are relatively robust, cheap, and easily replaceable using designs detailed in this paper. Modeling the techniques and methods described in the article from Coyne, “Lipid Bilayer Vesicle Generation Using Microfluidic Jetting” , we developed our own stage for use in generating GUVs at the University of Arizona.