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Biophys J. 2000 Sep;79(3):1400-14.

Tethered polymer-supported planar lipid bilayers for reconstitution of integral membrane proteins: silane-polyethyleneglycol-lipid as a cushion and covalent linker.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0736 USA.


There is increasing interest in supported membranes as models of biological membranes and as a physiological matrix for studying the structure and function of membrane proteins and receptors. A common problem of protein-lipid bilayers that are directly supported on a hydrophilic substrate is nonphysiological interactions of integral membrane proteins with the solid support to the extent that they will not diffuse in the plane of the membrane. To alleviate some of these problems we have developed a new tethered polymer-supported planar lipid bilayer system, which permitted us to reconstitute integral membrane proteins in a laterally mobile form. We have supported lipid bilayers on a newly designed polyethyleneglycol cushion, which provided a soft support and, for increased stability, covalent linkage of the membranes to the supporting quartz or glass substrates. The formation and morphology of the bilayers were followed by total internal reflection and epifluorescence microscopy, and the lateral diffusion of the lipids and proteins in the bilayer was monitored by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Uniform bilayers with high lateral lipid diffusion coefficients (0.8-1.2 x 10(-8) cm(2)/s) were observed when the polymer concentration was kept slightly below the mushroom-to-brush transition. Cytochrome b(5) and annexin V were used as first test proteins in this system. When reconstituted in supported bilayers that were directly supported on quartz, both proteins were largely immobile with mobile fractions < 25%. However, two populations of laterally mobile proteins were observed in the polymer-supported bilayers. Approximately 25% of cytochrome b(5) diffused with a diffusion coefficient of approximately 1 x 10(-8) cm(2)/s, and 50-60% diffused with a diffusion coefficient of approximately 2 x 10(-10) cm(2)/s. Similarly, one-third of annexin V diffused with a diffusion coefficient of approximately 3 x 10(-9) cm(2)/s, and two-thirds diffused with a diffusion coefficient of approximately 4 x 10(-10) cm(2)/s. A model for the interaction of these proteins with the underlying polymer is discussed.

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