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Biophys J. 1996 Nov;71(5):2716-23.

Electrical manipulation of glycan-phosphatidyl inositol-tethered proteins in planar supported bilayers.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, California 94305-5080, USA.


Electric fields have been used to manipulate and concentrate glycan-phosphatidyl inositol (GPI)-tethered proteins in planar supported bilayers. Naturally GPI-linked CD48, along with engineered forms of I-Ek and B7-2, in which their transmembrane domains have been genetically replaced with the GPI linkage, were studied. The proteins were labeled with fluorescently tagged antibodies, allowing the electric field-induced behavior to be followed by epifluorescence microscopy. All three protein complexes were observed to migrate toward the cathode with the B7-2 and CD48, each tethered to the membrane by a single GPI linker, moving significantly faster than the I-Ek, which has two GPI linkers. Patterns scratched into the membrane function as barriers to lateral diffusion and were used to isolate the proteins into highly concentrated corrals. All field-induced concentration profiles were completely reversible, indicating that the supported bilayer provides a stable, fluid environment in which GPI-tethered proteins can be manipulated. The ability to electrically control the spatial distribution of membrane-tethered proteins provides new opportunities for the study of biological membranes and the development of membrane-based devices.

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