Biomembrane Fabrication by the Solvent-assisted Lipid Bilayer (SALB) Method

Seyed R. Tabaei, Joshua A. Jackman, Minchul Kim, Saziye Yorulmaz, Setareh Vafaei, Nam-Joon Cho

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In order to mimic cell membranes, the supported lipid bilayer (SLB) is an attractive platform which enables in vitro investigation of membrane-related processes while conferring biocompatibility and biofunctionality to solid substrates. The spontaneous adsorption and rupture of phospholipid vesicles is the most commonly used method to form SLBs. However, under physiological conditions, vesicle fusion (VF) is limited to only a subset of lipid compositions and solid supports. Here, we describe a one-step general procedure called the solvent-assisted lipid bilayer (SALB) formation method in order to form SLBs which does not require vesicles. The SALB method involves the deposition of lipid molecules onto a solid surface in the presence of water-miscible organic solvents (e.g., isopropanol) and subsequent solvent-exchange with aqueous buffer solution in order to trigger SLB formation. The continuous solvent exchange step enables application of the method in a flow-through configuration suitable for monitoring bilayer formation and subsequent alterations using a wide range of surface-sensitive biosensors. The SALB method can be used to fabricate SLBs on a wide range of hydrophilic solid surfaces, including those which are intractable to vesicle fusion. In addition, it enables fabrication of SLBs composed of lipid compositions which cannot be prepared using the vesicle fusion method. Herein, we compare results obtained with the SALB and conventional vesicle fusion methods on two illustrative hydrophilic surfaces, silicon dioxide and gold. To optimize the experimental conditions for preparation of high quality bilayers prepared via the SALB method, the effect of various parameters, including the type of organic solvent in the deposition step, the rate of solvent exchange, and the lipid concentration is discussed along with troubleshooting tips. Formation of supported membranes containing high fractions of cholesterol is also demonstrated with the SALB method, highlighting the technical capabilities of the SALB technique for a wide range of membrane configurations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere53073
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


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