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J Am Chem Soc. 2007 Sep 26;129(38):11766-75. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Single ion-channel recordings using glass nanopore membranes.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, 315 S 1400 E, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


Protein ion-channel recordings using a glass nanopore (GNP) membrane as the support structure for lipid bilayer membranes are presented. The GNP membrane is composed of a single conical-shaped nanopore embedded in a approximately 50 microm-thick glass membrane chemically modified with a 3-cyanopropyldimethylchlorosilane monolayer to produce a surface of intermediate hydrophobicity. This surface modification results in lipid monolayer formation on the glass surface and a lipid bilayer suspended across the small orifice (100-400 nm-radius) of the GNP membrane, while allowing aqueous solutions to fully wet the glass nanopore. The GNP membrane/bilayer structures, which exhibit ohmic seal resistances of approximately 70 GOmega and electrical breakdown voltages of approximately 0.8 V, are exceptionally stable to mechanical disturbances and have lifetimes of at least 2 weeks. These favorable characteristics result from the very small area of bilayer (10(-10)-10(-8) cm(2)) that is suspended across the GNP membrane orifice. Fluorescence microscopy and vibrational sum frequency spectroscopy demonstrate that a lipid monolayer forms on the 3-cyanopropyl-dimethylchlorosilane modified glass surface with the lipid tails oriented toward the glass. The GNP membrane/bilayer structure is well suited for single ion-channel recordings. Reproducible insertion of the protein ion channel, wild-type alpha-hemolysin (WTalphaHL), and stochastic detection of a small molecule, heptakis(6-O-sulfo)-beta-cyclodextrin, are demonstrated. In addition, the insertion and removal of WTalphaHL channels are reproducibly controlled by applying small pressures (-100 to 350 mmHg) across the lipid bilayer. The electrical and mechanical stability of the bilayer, the ease of which bilayer formation is achieved, and the ability to control ion-channel insertion, coupled with the small bilayer capacitance of the GNP membrane-based system, provide a new and nearly optimal system for single ion-channel recordings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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