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    Shaped Apertures in Photoresist Films Enhance the Lifetime and Mechanical Stability of Suspended Lipid Bilayers

    Kalsi, S. and Powl, A.M. and Wallace, Bonnie A. and Morgan, H. and de Planque, M.R.R. (2014) Shaped Apertures in Photoresist Films Enhance the Lifetime and Mechanical Stability of Suspended Lipid Bilayers. Biophysical Journal 106 (8), pp. 1650-1659. ISSN 0006-3495.

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    Planar lipid bilayers suspended in apertures provide a controlled environment for ion channel studies. However, short lifetimes and poor mechanical stability of suspended bilayers limit the experimental throughput of bilayer electrophysiology experiments. Although bilayers are more stable in smaller apertures, ion channel incorporation through vesicle fusion with the suspended bilayer becomes increasingly difficult. In an alternative bilayer stabilization approach, we have developed shaped apertures in SU8 photoresist that have tapered sidewalls and a minimum diameter between 60 and 100 μm. Bilayers formed at the thin tip of these shaped apertures, either with the painting or the folding method, display drastically increased lifetimes, typically >20 h, and mechanical stability, being able to withstand extensive perturbation of the buffer solution. Single-channel electrical recordings of the peptide alamethicin and of the proteoliposome-delivered potassium channel KcsA demonstrate channel conductance with low noise, made possible by the small capacitance of the 50 μm thick SU8 septum, which is only thinned around the aperture, and unimpeded proteoliposome fusion, enabled by the large aperture diameter. We anticipate that these shaped apertures with micrometer edge thickness can substantially enhance the throughput of channel characterization by bilayer lipid membrane electrophysiology, especially in combination with automated parallel bilayer platforms.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Bioinformatics, Bloomsbury Centre for (Closed), Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 12:47
    Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 15:05


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