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 journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


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
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Cetrimonium
  • Cetrimonium Compounds/chemistry
  • Cholesterol/chemistry
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Lipid Bilayers/chemistry
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Vesicle stability
  • Nanovesicles
  • Composition asymmetry
  • Molecular self-assembly
  • Quatsomes


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