Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2011
Lipid bilayers are intrinsically fragile and require mechanical support in technical applications based on biomimetic membranes. Tethering the lipid bilayer membranes to solid substrates, either directly through covalent or ionic substrate−lipid links or indirectly on substrate-supported cushions, provides mechanical support but at the cost of small molecule transport through the membrane−support sandwich. To stabilize biomimetic membranes while allowing transport through a membrane−support sandwich, we have investigated the feasibility of using an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE)/hydrogel sandwich as the support. The sandwich is realized as a perforated surface-treated ETFE film onto which a hydrogel composite support structure is cast. We report a simple method to prepare arrays of lipid bilayer membranes with low intrinsic electrical conductance on the highly permeable, self-supporting ETFE/hydrogel sandwiches. We demonstrate how the ETFE/hydrogel sandwich support promotes rapid self-thinning of lipid bilayers suitable for hosting membrane-spanning proteins.
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