Lipid Vesicle-Coated Complex Coacervates

Fatma Pir Cakmak, Alex T. Grigas, Christine D. Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Compartmentalization by complex coacervation is important across a range of different fields including subcellular and prebiotic organization, biomedicine, food science, and personal care products. Often, lipid self-assemblies such as vesicles are also present intracellularly or in commercial formulations. A systematic understanding of how phospholipid vesicles interact with different complex coacervates could provide insight and improve control over these systems. In this manuscript, anionic phospholipid vesicles were added to a series of different complex coacervate samples in which coacervates were formed by mixing one of five polycations with one of three (poly)anions that varied in chemical structure and length. Vesicles were found to assemble at the coacervate/continuous phase interface and/or form aggregates. We report how factors such as the charge density of polyelectrolytes and the charge ratio of cationic-to-anionic moieties impact the vesicle distribution in coacervate samples. Our findings emphasize the importance of interactions between vesicles and polycations in the dilute supernatant phase for determining whether the vesicles aggregate prior to assembly at the liquid-liquid interface. The uptake of an RNA oligonucleotide (A15) was also investigated to understand the effect of these liposome coatings on diffusion into coacervate droplets. Systems in which uniform vesicle coronas assemble around coacervate droplets without restricting the entry of biomolecules such as RNAs could be of interest as bioreactors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7830-7840
Number of pages11
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 18 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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