Obtention of Giant Unilamellar Hybrid Vesicles by Electroformation and Measurement of their Mechanical Properties by Micropipette Aspiration

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Giant vesicles obtained from phospholipids and copolymers can be exploited in different applications: controlled and targeted drug delivery, biomolecular recognition within biosensors for diagnosis, functional membranes for artificial cells, and development of bioinspired micro/nano-reactors. In all of these applications, the characterization of their membrane properties is of fundamental importance. Among existing characterization techniques, micropipette aspiration, pioneered by E. Evans, allows the measurement of mechanical properties of the membrane such as area compressibility modulus, bending modulus and lysis stress and strain. Here, we present all the methodologies and detailed procedures to obtain giant vesicles from the thin film of a lipid or copolymer (or both), the manufacturing and surface treatment of micropipettes, and the aspiration procedure leading to the measurement of all the parameters previously mentioned.