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The Lipid Bilayer of Biological Vesicles: A Liquid-Crystalline Material as Nanovehicles of Information

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DOI: 10.4236/jbnb.2014.52013    3,622 Downloads   4,615 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The biological intracellular vesicles, formed from the cell membrane or from different cell organelles, play a main role in the intracellular transport, transfer and exchange of molecules and information. Extracellular vesicles are also detected in organisms belonging to any of the three main branches of evolution, Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya. There is an increasing consensus that these vesicles are important mediators of intercellular communication. All the intracellular and extracellular vesicles present a characteristic lipid composition and organization that governs their formation, targeting and function. This paper gives an overview of the lipid chemical and physical structure, strongly related to their biological function. The properties and role of the different types of lipids from membranes and vesicles are described. Then, their physical structure is shown as self-associated in a bilayer and organized as a lyotropic liquid crystal. The present paper underlies the structural similarity between these biological vesicles and a new synthetic material, theliquid crystalline fullerodendrimers” obtained from the biological model. It is composed of a basket of carbon associated with a liquid crystalline material and has been shown to exhibit highly efficient properties of information transfer. Our observation stresses the essential role of the liquid crystalline structure of lipids in their function as biological nanovehicles of information. The comparison with the synthetic material contributes to a better understanding of the role of lipids for cell communication in living organisms.

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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Alfsen, A. and Tatischeff, I. (2014) The Lipid Bilayer of Biological Vesicles: A Liquid-Crystalline Material as Nanovehicles of Information. Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, 5, 105-115. doi: 10.4236/jbnb.2014.52013.

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