The adsorption of phosphatidylcholine (PC) vesicles (30, 50, and 100 nm nominal diameters) and of dye-labeled PC vesicles (labeled with 6% Texas Red fluorophore (TR) and encapsulated carboxy fluorescein (CF)) to glass surfaces was studied by contact mode atomic force microscopy in aqueous buffer. These studies were performed in part to unravel details of the previously observed isolated rupture of dye-labeled PC vesicles on glass (Johnson, J. M.; Ha, T.; Chu, S.; Boxer, S. G. Biophys. J. 2002, 83, 3371-3379), specifically to differentiate partial rupture, that is, pore formation and leakage of entrapped dye, from full rupture to form bilayer disks. In addition, the adhesion potential of PC vesicles on glass was calculated based upon the adhesion-driven flattening of adsorbed vesicles and a newly developed theoretical model. The vesicles were found to flatten considerably upon adsorption to glass (width-to-height ratio of approximately 5), which leads to an estimate for the adhesion potential and for the critical rupture radius of 1.5 × 10-4 J/m2 and 250 nm, respectively. Independent of vesicle size and loading with dye molecules, the adsorption of intact vesicles was observed at all concentrations below a threshold concentration, above which the formation of smooth lipid bilayers occurred. In conjunction with previous work (Johnson, J. M.; Ha, T.; Chu, S.; Boxer, S. G. Biophys. J. 2002, 83, 3371-3379), these data show that 6% TR 20 mM CF vesicles adsorb to the surface intact but undergo partial rupture in which they exchange content with the external buffer.
Schönherr, H., Johnson, J. M., Lenz, P., Frank, C. W., & Boxer, S. G. (2004). Vesicle Adsorption and Lipid Bilayer Formation on Glass Studied by Atomic Force Microscopy. Langmuir, 20(26), 11600-11606. https://doi.org/10.1021/la049302v