A vesicle in a cell is an enclosed structure in which the interior fluid is encompassed by a lipid bilayer. Synthetic vesicles are known as the liposomes. Liposomes with a single phospholipid bilayer are called unilamellar liposomes; otherwise, they are called multilamellar liposomes or onion-like liposomes (vesicles). One prototype synthetic onion-like vesicle, namely, onion-like dendrimersomes, have been recently produced via the self-assembly of amphiphilic Janus dendrimers (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016, 113, 1162). Herein, we show computer simulation evidence of another type of onion-like vesicle, namely, onion-like oligomersomes, via the self-assembly of amphiphilic Janus oligomers in water. Specifically, we investigate the minimum-sized oligomers (or minimalist model) that can give rise to the onion-like oligomersomes as well as the composition-dependent phase diagrams. Insights into the formation condition and formation process of the onion-like oligomersomes are obtained. We demonstrate that the discharge of the in-vesicle water is through the remarkable "peeling-one-onion-layer-at-a-time" fashion, a feature that can be utilized for a clinical dosing regimen. The ability to control the formation of onion-like oligomersomes by design can be exploited for applications in drug and gene delivery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas