Cell-Derived Vesicles with Increased Stability and On-Demand Functionality by Equipping Their Membrane with a Cross-Linkable Copolymer
Cell-derived vesicles retain the cytoplasm and much of the native cell membrane composition. Therefore, they are attractive for investigations of membrane biophysics, drug delivery systems, and complex molecular factories. However, their fragility and aggregation limit their applications. Here, the mechanical properties and stability of giant plasma membrane vesicles (GPMVs) are enhanced by decorating them with a specifically designed diblock copolymer, cholesteryl-poly[2-aminoethyl methacrylate-b-poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate]. When cross-linked, this polymer brush enhances the stability of the GPMVs. Furthermore, the pH-responsiveness of the copolymer layer allows for a controlled cargo loading/release, which may enable various bioapplications. Importantly, the cross-linked-copolymer GPMVs are not cytotoxic and preserve in vitro membrane integrity and functionality. This effective strategy to equip the cell-derived vesicles with stimuli-responsive cross-linkable copolymers is expected to open a new route to the stabilization of natural membrane systems and overcome barriers to biomedical applications. © 2022 The Authors. Advanced Healthcare Materials published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.