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Methods Mol Biol. 2007;400:503-13.

Lipid domains in supported lipid bilayer for atomic force microscopy.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, Davis, USA.


Phase-separated supported lipid bilayers have been widely used to study the phase behavior of multicomponent lipid mixtures. One of the primary advantages of using supported lipid bilayers is that the two-dimensional platform of this model membrane system readily allows lipid-phase separation to be characterized by high-resolution imaging techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM). In addition, when supported lipid bilayers have been functionalized with a specific ligand, protein-membrane interactions can also be imaged and characterized through AFM. It has been recently demonstrated that when the technique of vesicle fusion is used to prepare supported lipid bilayers, the thermal history of the vesicles before deposition and the supported lipid bilayers after formation will have significant effects on the final phase-separated domain structures. In this chapter, three methods of vesicle preparations as well as three deposition conditions will be presented. Also, the techniques and strategies of using AFM to image multicomponent phase-separated supported lipid bilayers and protein binding will be discussed.

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