Induction of neuron-like tubes and liposome networks by cooperative effect of gangliosides and phospholipids

Kazunari Akiyoshi, Ayako Itaya, Shin Ichiro M. Nomura, Naoaki Ono, Kenichi Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Although there is a rather large abundance of gangliosides in neurons, their functional role is still unclear. We focused on a physicochemical role of gangliosides in the formation of tubular structures, such as axons or dendrites in neurons. When a ganglioside, GM3, was added to cell-size liposomes that consisted of dioleoylphosphatidyl-choline, tubular structures were induced and liposome networks connected by the tubes were observed by differential interference microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. The potential for various gangliosides to induce tubes was dependent on the structures of their hydrophilic head group. With a large excess of gangliosides, the tubes are destabilized and small fragments, or micelles, are generated. The phenomenon was suggested by physical model calculation. Gangliosides may play a role as building material in neural unique tubular structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jan 16
Externally publishedYes


  • Ganglioside
  • Giant liposome
  • Microscopic observation
  • Nanotube
  • Network structure
  • Neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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