Docking onto cells with nano-capsules

Project title: Cyclodextrin based copolymer vesicles for delivery of labeled lipids and other cargo into cells
Principal investigators: Bart Jan Ravoo, Armido Studer, Volker Gerke
Project time: 07/2016 - 12/2017
Project code: FF-2016-12

Biochemists at the Cluster of Excellence analyze the dynamics of membranes of cells in our bodies. Cell membranes consist of a patchwork of proteins and lipids, in other words water-insoluble fats. They transmit external signals into the interior of the cell, thereby for example telling the cells where they should move to. Making lipids visible and undertaking research on them is difficult, though. In this project CiM scientists are now aiming to introduce lipids marked with fluorescent substances into cells. From natural hydrocarbon compounds they want to produce tiny nano-capsules which can dock onto certain cells and are taken up by them. What is special about this is, that the release mechanism in the nano-capsules only becomes active when a cell has absorbed them. Only then cargo encapsulated in the nanocontainers, for example lipids with fluorescent substances, leaks out and can be imaged by means of microscopy.