T. P. Tuyen Dao, A. Brûlet, F. Fernandes, M. Er-Rafik, K. Ferji, R. Schweins, J.-P. Chapel, A. Fedorov, M. Schmutz, M. Prieto, O. Sandre, and J.-F. Le Meins.
Hybrids, i.e., intimately mixed polymer/phospholipid vesicles, can potentially marry in a single membrane the best characteristics of the two separate components. The ability of amphiphilic copolymers and phospholipids to self-assemble into hybrid membranes has been studied until now on the submicrometer scale using optical microscopy on giant hybrid unilamellar vesicles (GHUVs), but limited information is available on large hybrid unilamellar vesicles (LHUVs). In this work, copolymers based on poly(dimethylsiloxane) and poly(ethylene oxide) with different molar masses and architectures (graft, triblock) were associated with 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC). Classical protocols of LUV formation were used to obtain nanosized self-assembled structures. Using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET), and cryo-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), we show that copolymer architecture and molar mass have direct influences on the formation of hybrid nanostructures that can range from wormlike hybrid micelles to hybrid vesicles presenting small lipid nanodomains.