Stable nanovesicles formed by intrinsically planar bilayers

Mariana Köber, Sílvia Illa-Tuset, Lidia Ferrer-Tasies, Evelyn Moreno-Calvo, Witold I. Tatkiewicz, Natascia Grimaldi, David Piña, Alejandro Pérez Pérez, Vega Lloveras, José Vidal-Gancedo, Donatella Bulone, Imma Ratera, Jan Skov Pedersen, Dganit Danino, Jaume Veciana, Jordi Faraudo*, Nora Ventosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: Quatsome nanovesicles, formed through the self-assembly of cholesterol (CHOL) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) in water, have shown long-term stability in terms of size and morphology, while at the same time exhibiting high CHOL-CTAB intermolecular binding energies. We hypothesize that CHOL/CTAB quatsomes are indeed thermodynamically stable nanovesicles, and investigate the mechanism underlying their formation. Experiments: A systematic study was performed to determine whether CHOL/CTAB quatsomes satisfy the experimental requisites of thermodynamically stable vesicles. Coarse-grain molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the molecular organization in the vesicle membrane, and the characteristics of the simulated vesicle were corroborated with experimental data obtained by cryo–electron microscopy, small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering, and multi-angle static light scattering. Findings: CHOL/CTAB quatsomes fulfill the requisites of thermodynamically stable nanovesicles, but they do not exhibit the classical membrane curvature induced by a composition asymmetry between the bilayer leaflets, like catanionic nanovesicles. Instead, CHOL/CTAB quatsomes are formed through the association of intrinsically planar bilayers in a faceted vesicle with defects, indicating that distortions in the organization and orientation of molecules can play a major role in the formation of thermodynamically stable nanovesicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Composition asymmetry
  • Molecular self-assembly
  • Nanovesicles
  • Quatsomes
  • Vesicle stability


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