The lipids are a large and diverse group of naturally occurring organic compounds that are related by their solubility in nonpolar organic solvents (e.g. ether, chloroform, acetone & benzene) and general insolubility in water. There is great structural variety among the lipids, mmost common are phospholids.
Phospholipids are the main constituents of cell membranes. They resemble the triglycerides in being ester or amide derivatives of glycerol or sphingosine with fatty acids and phosphoric acid. The phosphate moiety of the resulting phosphatidic acid is further esterified with ethanolamine, choline or serine in the phospholipid itself.
This bilayer membrane structure is also found in aggregate structures called liposomes. Liposomes are microscopic vesicles consisting of an aqueous core enclosed in one or more phospholipid layers. They are formed when phospholipids are vigorously mixed with water. Unlike micelles, liposomes have both aqueous interiors and exteriors.
Accordingly, we have done research on several lipid systems that can be divided in the following groups:
- Lipid-ion interactions
- Cationic lipid-DNA complexes (cationic lipoplexes)
- Ternary systems formed by anionic lipid-cation-DNA (anionic lipoplexes)