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Nano Lett. 2008 Feb;8(2):425-30. doi: 10.1021/nl072304q. Epub 2008 Jan 19.

Non-Brownian diffusion of membrane molecules in nanopatterned supported lipid bilayers.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA.


Molecules associated with the outer surface of living cells exhibit complex, non-Brownian patterns of diffusion. In this report, supported lipid bilayers were patterned with nanoscale barriers to capture key aspects of this anomalous diffusion in a controllable format. First, long-range diffusion coefficients of membrane-associated molecules were significantly reduced by the presence of the barriers, while short-range diffusion was unaffected. Second, this modulation was more pronounced for large molecular complexes than for individual lipids. Surprisingly, the quantitative effect of these barriers on long-range lipid diffusion could be accurately simulated using a simple, continuum-based model of diffusion on a nanostructured surface; we thus describe a metamaterial that captures the properties of the outer membrane of living cells.

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