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Biophys J. 1994 Jan;66(1):75-9.

Lipid-glass adhesion in giga-sealed patch-clamped membranes.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.


Adhesion between patch-clamped lipid membranes and glass micropipettes is measured by high contrast video imaging of the mechanical response to the application of suction pressure across the patch. The free patch of membrane reversibly alters both its contact angle and radius of curvature on pressure changes. The assumption that an adhesive force between the membrane and the pipette can sustain normal tension up to a maximum Ta at the edge of the free patch accounts for the observed mechanical responses. When the normal component of the pressure-induced membrane tension exceeds Ta membrane at the contact point between the free patch and the lipid-glass interface is pulled away from the pipette wall, resulting in a decreased radius of curvature for the patch and an increased contact angle. Measurements of the membrane radius of curvature as a function of the suction pressure and pipette radius determine line adhesion tensions Ta which range from 0.5 to 4.0 dyn/cm. Similar behavior of patch-clamped cell membranes implies similar adhesion mechanics.

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