Incorporation and characterization of biological molecules in droplet-interface bilayer networks for novel active systems

  • Sarles S
  • Ghanbari Bavarsad P
  • Leo D
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Biological molecules including phospholipids and proteins offer scientists and engineers a diverse selection of materials to develop new types of active materials and smart systems based on ion conduction. The inherent energy-coupling abilities of these components create novel kinds of transduction elements. Networks formed from droplet-interface bilayers (DIB) are a promising construct for creating cell mimics that allow for the assembly and study of these active biological molecules. The current-voltage relationship of symmetric, "lipid-in" dropletinterface bilayers are characterized using electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV). "Lipid-in" diphytanoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPhPC) droplet-interface bilayers have specific resistances of nearly 10M Omega ldr cm/sup 2/ and rupture at applied potentials greater than 300mV, indicating the "lipid-in" approach produces higher quality interfacial membranes than created using the original "lipid-out" method. The incorporation of phospholipids into the droplet interior allows for faster monolayer formation but does not inhibit the selfinsertion of transmembrane proteins into bilayer interfaces that separate adjacent droplets. Alamethicin proteins inserted into single and multi-DIB networks produce a voltage-dependent membrane conductance and current measurements on bilayers containing this type of protein exhibit a reversible, 3-4 order-of-magnitude conductance increase upon application of voltage.

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  • Stephen A. Sarles

  • Pegah Ghanbari Bavarsad

  • Donald J. Leo

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