Phase-Separated Giant Liposomes for Stable Elevation of α-Hemolysin Concentration in Lipid Membranes

Mizuki Kobayashi, Hiroshi Noguchi, Gaku Sato, Chiho Watanabe, Kei Fujiwara, Miho Yanagisawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Staphylococcus aureus α-hemolysin (αHL) is one of the most popular proteins in nanopore experiments within lipid membranes. Higher concentrations of αHL within the lipid membrane are desirable to enhance the mass transport capacity through nanopores. However, the reconstitution of αHL at high concentrations is associated with the problem of membrane lytic disruption. In this study, we present a method that effectively increases αHL concentration while maintaining membrane stability. This method is achieved by using phase-separated giant liposomes, where coexisting liquid-disordered (Ld) and liquid-ordered phases (Lo) are enriched in unsaturated lipids and saturated lipids with cholesterol (Chol), respectively. Fluorescence observation of αHL in liposomes revealed that the presence of Chol facilitates αHL insertion into the membrane. Despite the preferential localization of αHL in the Ld phase rather than the Lo phase, the coexistence of both Lo and Ld phases prevents membrane disruption in the presence of concentrated αHL. We have explained this stabilization mechanism considering the lower membrane tension exhibited by phase-separated liposomes compared to homogeneous liposomes. Under hypertonic conditions, we have successfully increased the local concentration of αHL by invagination of the lipid-only region in the Ld phase, leaving αHL behind. This method exhibits potential for the reconstitution of various nanochannels and membrane proteins that prefer the Ld phase over the Lo phase, thus enabling the production of giant liposomes at high concentrations and the replication of the membrane-crowding condition observed in cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11481-11489
Number of pages9
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug 15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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