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The Shapes of Compartments of Life: Osmotic Basis of Shape Morphogenesis in Vesicles

ACS NANOGiant Lipid Vesicles, topologically closed cell-sized compartments isolating pico- to femto-liter quantities of the aqueous phase, are bounded by highly flexible and semi-permeable quasi-two dimensional membrane.  When immersed in a hypertonic bath, the efflux of water (but not the solute) from the compartment drives dramatic shape transitions, which recapitulate many a shape transition in living cells.  Prof. Parikh co-authored an invited feature article in the March issue of Langmuir on the subject of Giant Lipid Vesicles.  Read the article at

Mixing Water, Transducing Energy, Shaping Membranes: Autonomously Self-regulating Giant Vesicles, James Ho C. S., Padmini Rangamani, Bo Liedberg, Atul N. Parikh  Langmuir 32, 2151–2163, 2016.